Homeowner Impact Stories
Ruby is a vibrant young lady who works at the CSEB Production Yard in Batticaloa in a supervisory capacity while simultaneously playing a role of a SME representative.
Ruby has been working at the yard for nearly 05 months and takes pride in being able to work in a predominantly male dominant field in her hometown. “This is my village” she very proudly commented when asked why she loved working the CSEB Yard in Batticaloa. Ruby also told us that the CSEB yards working population consisted mostly of women, and that this made her feel excited to keep coming to work and break the cycle of women being discouraged to be breadwinners in their families. Ruby exclaimed how keen she is to continue to learn more about the EU funded “Homes not Houses” project and keep contributing to it as much as she can, while encouraging the women around her to do so as well.
Sathiyaran (47 years old) and her husband Thiyagarasa are parents to 5 children, 3 of whom are married and living with their own families. Their youngest daughters live with them at present, while one daughter (22) is looking for a job so she can help to support her family financially. Their youngest daughter (19) is studying for her G.C.E Advance Level examination. Before they were selected to receive a home through the “Homes not Houses” project funded by the European Union, they were among the thousands of families who were displaced by the war. Sathiyaran’s family was forced to live in her parents’ house, sharing a small house with 02 other families, all desperately trying to keep safe from the prevailing violence.
Sathiyaran and her husband worked hard to save money to one day buy a land for their own family. Sathiyaran was enterprising and cooked and sold food in their local area, while her husband Thiyagarasa continued to work as a daily wage laborer. Together they saved enough money to buy the land that their beautiful Habitat home now stands on. Sathiyaran proudly shares how her daughters have also been active in making their house a true home by giving unique touches to their Habitat home; like the splash of bright pink on their window frames. Sathiyaran commented that she is happy knowing that her daughters have a safe place to call home – “and after years of living just day to day, we have no fear at night now, because we are safe”.
Sivarasa is a hardworking man who takes care of not only his wife and 3 children, but also his parents. His father (78) and his mother (72) are excited to see their grandchildren grow up in a home they can call their own.
The 7 of them are a very close knit family, and Sivarasa’s wife; Somasundari is most thankful for the safety that their home brings them. Despite the hardships and uncertainty they experienced during the civil war, she recalled how she and her husband persisted. They were so happy when they got the news that they would become homeowners through this project.
She considers herself fortunate to know that no matter where her children go in life, they always have a stable place to call home. Commenting on what this home meant to him and his wife, Sivarasa explains how, “this home is a ladder for my children to dream and do things we were not able to when we were their age”. This home has enabled Sivarasa and Somasundari to envision a brighter future for their children.
Perinparasa, is a mother of 6 children and she works as a daily wage laborer in the nearby paddy fields in Kokkadichilai, Batticaloa. Her husband is a fisherman and spends most of his time at the coast of Batticaloa looking for work to provide for their family.
After the end of the civil war, Perinparasa’s family had no permanent place to call home and given their financial struggles, constructing a home of their own had remained a distant dream.
Being selected to receive a new home by Habitat for Humanity in 2016 through the ‘Homes not Houses Project’ funded by the European Union, this family’s dream of having a place to call home has finally become a reality. This home has provided a safe haven for Perinparasa’s children to grow and to create happy memories together, while having the necessary space and security to study and play.
Commenting on what a home means to her and her family, Perinparasa said that “a home is a place where a family can live happily together and feel safe no matter what problems come their way in life”.
Today, because Perinparasa’s family does not have to worry about the financial burden of constructing a home, her children are able to focus on their education and are now better equipped and empowered to find employment that matches their skills. Shyalini (20), Perinparasa’s eldest daughter has been empowered to break away from cultural norms of entering in to marriage at a young age and instead is very excited about finding employment at a reputable local garment factory. She believes this opportunity will enable her to broaden her horizons, while also being able to contribute to the household expenses and to help take care of her five younger siblings.
Prior to shifting into their conventional home constructed by Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka through the European Union funded housing project, Sinnathamby, his wife and four daughters lived with extended family and was gradually able to build a temporary shelter.
As a family, they faced many challenges to seek security during the war, but were fortunate enough to resettle in their own land, and in their own village once the war had ended. The head of the household; Sinnathamby at age 62; works as a daily wage laborer and remarked how difficult it was to build a home on his own, while also providing for his family. His eldest daughter, Dharshini aged 20 was blessed in marriage last year, and now he is supporting his younger daughters who are all going to school.
They are aged 17 (Usha), 13 (Tharani) and 12 (Nisha), and are eager to do well with their studies.Sinnathamby and his wife commented on how Habitat Sri Lanka and the EU team came together and helped them to regain control of their life, which was full of uncertainty.
They now have a safe lockable home that is able to give the essential sense of security for their daughters.