Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Life slowly blossoms in Krishnapuram

News and Press Release
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By Ganga Kariyawasam - IFRC Snr. Officer, Monitoring & Reporting (PCRP)

The villagers of Krishnapuram in Kilinochchi had to undergo severe hardships when they began to rebuild their lives soon after a 25 year old conflict.

They left the village in June 2008 due influx of the armed conflict between the government military forces of Sri Lanka and the LTTE pushing them towards displacement. They resettled back in the village in March 2010, where everything was devastated and abandoned.

When the situation as such in Krishnapuram, The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) lend their hand to support them to build their lives back better under Red Cross Post-Conflict Recovery Programme (RC PCRP).

On 28th September 2010, 100 families in Krishnapuram Village and SLRCS entered into a collective agreement with SLRCS by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. This was to construct their houses in owner-driven model where beneficiary commits to contribute his maximum while SLRCS agrees to provide technical and financial assistance with the support of IFRC.

The benefiting families started construction of their new permanent houses in October 2010, with full of hopes to start better life.

Vickneswaran Pushparani, a beneficiary in Krishnapuram said, "Life is really hard without proper shelter and livelihood. We live in this temporary shelter for ten months". Her house is under construction at present and the foundation has already completed. She was applying the DPC tar, at the time of our visit. "I do work which I can, so that we can reduce some expenses and also I feel real sense of ownership and satisfaction when the house is rising with my sweat and effort", She further added.

Out of the 100 houses in Krishnapuram, roof construction is ongoing in 10 houses, walls construction ongoing in 89 houses and foundation ongoing in one house by now.

Uthayakumar Thavarani, also lives in Krishnapuram, she is also a beneficiary of the Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme and her house is under construction, where foundation had completed and walls are under construction at present. She is a single mother of three children; two daughters of eight and three and a son who is just a year old. They are still on the lookout for her husband who went missing during the conflict period.

She is physically disabled due to a shell blast, which injured her abdomen, left hand and right leg. According to medical records it resulted 70% of loss of her earning capacity.

"I put 20,000 rupees additionally to construct the foundation from my savings. It was all I had. I saved that money by working for UNHR cash for work program in constructing rural roads of the area after resettlement" Thavarani said. "I mortgaged the land permit and had taken some money, too to construct the walls, since I do not have any money", she said later.

Krishnapuram Rural Development Society (RDS) is one of those who help the community to build back better. It was started to function again, from June 2010, after resettlement.

The President of the Krishnapuram RDS, Kishorkanth said "It's really happy to see that 100 families of our village are building their houses. Since the Red Cross programme is an owner driven housing construction project, people can start construction with the receipt of funds. Once completed with that installment they request for the next installment and carry on the work without interruption."

Although these villagers go through a lot of difficulties, they work hard with positive thoughts to reach their target and are looking forward to begin their lives back.