Sri Lanka

From temporary shelter into a tiled house

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By Zafran Packeerally – Red Cross Communications Officer in Sri Lanka

Building a house is a dream for many, but most especially so for those living in the district of Killinochchi. The decade long conflict shattered everything they had. Lives, property... everything.

Rebuilding their lives was not an easy task for them. Bitter memories still haunt many, including 47 year old Kanthasamy Ravichandran.

Life is not easy for Ravichandran as is it is for many people living in the area. Kanthasamy Ravichandran a resident of Ampalkulam village sells beetle leaves at the Killinochchi market. While selling beetle leaves, he sometimes falls into deep thought about his eldest daughter who went missing during the conflict.

Even though they were once displaced by the war, for Kanthasamy’s family, their courage for living was not. He has two other children, a 16 year old daughter, and a 14 year old son who still need his protection.

Mr. Kandasamy’s wife, R. Mansula helps her husband to create a better future for their children. Kanthasamy Ravichandran is a beneficiary of the Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme which was launched by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society to help in the process of resettling the internally displaced people in the northern part of Sri Lanka.

“...when we displaced in the war, we never thought we would never be able recover like this. But I’m so happy today, since my dream has become true. It’s my new home. Without this Red Cross programme this dream would have not come true...” said Kanthasamy Ravichandran when he invited the PCRP team on the first day moving into his newly built house.

Kanthasamy Ravichandran was selected for this programme on October 2010 and received his first instalment of 50,000 Sri Lankan Rupees to lay the foundation for his house in December of the same year.

Under the Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme cash grants were provided in several instalments to build houses. Foundation laying, building of walls, roofing, finishings, and the building of sanitation facilities are the different stages at which the instalments are provided. More over these beneficiaries are provided with a livelihood grant as well. A beneficiary receives a total of 550,000 Sri Lankan Rupees to finalise these tasks.

Red Cross Community mobilizers and the volunteers are available for assistance and to record their progress by making frequent visits to their places.After six months of patience and commitment Kanthasamy Ravichandran owns a new house as a fruitful outcome of the Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme.

Ravichandran’s newly built house has three rooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a toilet facility as well.

Today, some one who enters Kanthasamy Ravichandran’s house will never think that he was displaced. The house is completed. Even the floors are tiled and built to a good standard.

Ravichandran has also utilised his savings in the bank in order to build this fully completed house.

Now Ravichandran has applied for the livelihood cash grant as he intends to engage in poultry & crop farming in the future. The courage and the commitment of Ravichandran and his family is the real success story.

The smile on their face is proof of new hope and the signs of a prosperous future.