Sri Lanka

Housing for dignity: IFRC Secretary General praises Sri Lankan partnership programme that has benefited 100,000 people affected by conflict 

News and Press Release
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Published: 3 March 2016

3 March 2016 – Colombo/Geneva: A programme that has provided housing for more than 100,000 conflict-affected people in the north of Sri Lanka is an example of the unique and long-term impact that sustained, community-level engagement can have, even in the most complex of settings, said the Secretary General of the IFRC.

“This programme has been based on a partnership between the Red Cross and families affected by the conflict,” said Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy. “This approach has enabled families to build the homes that suit their needs. But beyond that, it has helped affected communities to regain their hope, and recover what is most important to them, their human dignity.”

The Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme, supported by the IFRC and its partners, including the Government of India, has provided more than 21,000 families with financial and technical help to build new homes and re-establish their lives in areas that were affected by the past conflict in Sri Lanka.

Mr Sy visited Sri Lanka at the invitation of the President of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, Mr Jagath Abeysinghe. On Wednesday (2 March) he travelled to Jaffna and Kilinochchi where he met with families supported by the programme as well as Red Cross volunteers. He was struck by the determination and resilience of the people he met.

“I was taken to Jaffna and Kilinochchi to meet the “victims and beneficiaries”,” he said. “What I found was beauty, grace, dignity resilience and hospitality …People committed to building a better future for their children. Their courage and determination are truly inspiring”

In Colombo, Mr Sy met with the President of Sri Lanka, H. E. Maithripala Sirisena. They discussed continued and critical role the Sri Lanka Red Cross in support of vulnerable people in Sri Lanka. He also met with other high-level dignitaries, including the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Fisheries and the High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka.

During his visit, Mr Sy spoke of the critical role that the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society plays across the country. In the past five years alone, local Red Cross volunteers have helped more than 1 million people who have been affected by various disasters.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the worlds largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 190 member National Societies. Together, IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit You can also connect with us on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Flickr.

For further information, please contact:

In Sri Lanka

  • Mahieash Johnney, Senior Manager for Communications & HD
    Mobile + 94 773 502 156 | E-mail:

In Kuala Lumpur:

  • Patrick Fuller, Communications manager, IFRC Asia Pacific
    Mobile: +60 12 230 8451** **E-mail:

In Geneva:

  • Benoit Carpentier, Team leader, public communications, IFRC
    Mobile : +41 792 132 413, E-mail: