Homes not Houses Project (funded by the European Union)

Homes not Houses Project (funded by the European Union)

Homes not Houses Project
Building a Sustainable Future Together  

EU Logo 2018

The European Union (EU) funded housing project with a financial envelope of 14.7 Million Euro now in its second year of implementation, has made further progress this year. More than 215,000 people will benefit from this multi-faceted housing project, financed by the European Union, and implemented by Habitat for Humanity and World Vision Lanka.

The project, which aims to bridge the gap between relief, rehabilitation and development, aims to facilitate access of returnees and host communities to affordable and appropriate incremental housing solutions, social infrastructure and livelihood protection. The ‘Homes not Houses Project’ is targeted to build 2,315 houses and repair 140 homes in 31 divisions across Batticaloa, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu by May 2020. While 75% of the intervention is concentrated in the Northern Districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu; 25% of the intervention is focused in Batticaloa in the Eastern Province. As of 30 June, 2018, 430 homes have been successfully constructed and more than 1,836 homes are currently in different phases of construction in all locations.

The multi-year project includes the construction of conventional brick-and-mortar houses as well as homes that are built with appropriate construction materials such as Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) and Earth Concrete Blocks (ECB). Building on the growing focus on sustainability, Habitat for Humanity has trained suppliers of materials and techniques which will not only result in the use of locally manufactured earth blocks and construction materials, but will also promote sustainable construction methods and reduce construction costs for homeowners, while creating employment opportunities for the local communities.

Additionally, this European Union funded housing project has enabled Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka to introduce innovative appropriate construction technologies such as the Fairface masonry technology, Ferro-cement –reinforced mortar and filler slab and Rat-trap bond. The Fairface masonry technique uses uniformly cast blocks with pointed mortar joints. It is both an eco-friendly and more cost-effective alternative to the regular process of plastering walls as it uses less sand and cement and provides a higher quality in appearance with pattern options and is more aesthetically pleasing in general. The Rat-trap bond method has proven to be a key construction techniques appropriate for the climatic conditions of the communities as the technique has improved thermal efficiency and reduces the amount of materials required.

Speaking during the handover ceremony of the first ECB house in Mullaitivu, Mr. Yu Hwa Li, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka said,

“I am encouraged to see the significant impact this housing project has made in assisting returnee families to achieve self-reliance and stability. This project has enabled Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka in particular, to break new ground in the field of appropriate construction technologies by investing in earth-based technologies which are cost-effective and sustainable while boosting the local economy and providing much needed employment opportunities for the local communities. While there is still much to be done, I am proud of all that this project has been able to accomplish thus far. I am especially grateful for the funding from the European Union which enables Habitat for Humanity to assist these returnee families rebuild a sustainable future for themselves”.

Key Project Activities and Targets:
• Access to permanent housing including houses built with appropriate
materials (compressed stabilized earth blocks and earth concrete blocks).
• Appropriate incremental building through microcredit to expand a home or
create a place of business.
• “Flanking measures” relating to general livelihood support for families
and communities such as vocational training in construction, training in
appropriate building materials and methods, and forming and strengthening
small and medium enterprises.
• Training families in financial literacy including savings plans, microfinance
and basics of business. Improved access to appropriate microfinance and
management of debt.

A completed house constructed through the use of appropriate technology and Earth Concrete Blocks (ECB) in Mullaitivu.Habitat Sri Lanka’s National Director ceremoniously hands over the first ECB house to the beneficiary family in Mullaitivu.

A first beneficiary family to receive a Habitat home constructed with the use of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) in Batticaloa.

A first beneficiary family to receive a Habitat home constructed with the use of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) in Batticaloa. (Photo: Jim Kendell) CSEB bricks produced and ready to use for construction at the CSEB Production Yard located in Batticaloa.

Indian Housing Project (Eastern Province)

Indian Housing Project (Eastern Province)

Indian Housing Project – Eastern Province
Building Strength & Stability of Internally Displaced FamiliesIHP Logo-2018

The Indian Housing Project is a housing construction project funded by the Government of India and implemented through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) which was initiated in 2012. The Indian Housing Project (IHP) is an extension of the Government of India’s commitment to construct 50,000 homes in Sri Lanka for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by the 26-year civil war which ravaged the North and East of Sri Lanka.

In 2016, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka successfully completed the construction of 3,713 new houses and repair of 46 houses for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Trincomalee and Batticaloa as part of Phase 1 of the Indian Housing Project funded by the Government of India. Consequent to the completion of Phase 1 of the Indian Housing Project, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka was awarded the construction of 270 homes in Batticaloa as part of Phase II of the Indian Housing Project in the Eastern Province. Habitat Sri Lanka commenced the construction of 270 homes in Batticaloa in September 2017 and was subsequently, awarded an additional caseload of 131 homes in Batticaloa. Phase 11 of the Indian Housing Project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

A grant of LKR 550,000 was provided to each beneficiary family in four installments to construct a new house. All families built their homes according to Local Authority guidelines with a minimum area of 550 square feet. As the project followed a participatory “homeowner driven” process of construction, Habitat Sri Lanka provided technical assistance to homeowners so that they could in turn manage the construction process themselves. The support by Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka particularly includes basic technical awareness in construction and skills training.

This unique approach encourages homeowners to take ownership of the design and construction of their own homes, utilizing the extensive orientation and training given by the implementing agencies on basics of construction, technical aspects and house lifecycle management. Habitat Sri Lanka’s Technical Officers regularly visited the construction sites and assisted beneficiaries to source good quality building materials and supervise skilled labour.

This homeowner-driven participatory construction method has also been a key methodology utilized by Habitat Sri Lanka in building strength, stability and self-reliance among communities rebuilding their lives after the war.

IHP East Infographic

IHP East 2018-2

A completed home constructed by Habitat Sri Lanka, with a fresh coat of paint; which is the contribution of the homeowner family

IHP East 2018

A Habitat Home constructed through the Indian Housing Project in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka

Indian Housing Project (Central Province)

Indian Housing Project (Central Province)

Indian Housing Project – Central Province
Building Self-Reliance of Plantation Worker Families

IHP Logo-2018

The plantation sector provides a significant share of Sri Lanka’s national economy, with an estimated 244,500 families and a population of 966,700 living in the plantation sector. The population serving in this sector consists mainly of plantation workers who reside in small attached houses referred to as ‘line houses’. These line houses which date back to the colonial era, are now in a state of disrepair resulting in the families being compelled to live in very poor conditions which lack basic water and sanitation facilities.

In response to this major housing need in the Central and Uva Provinces, the Government of India initiated the Indian Housing Project in the Central and Uva Provinces to make a significant contribution to the sustainable resettlement of at least 4,000 plantation worker families in newly created cluster villages or small townships, under the auspices of the Ministry of Hill Country, New Villages and Infrastructure and Community Development.

The Indian Housing Project in the Central and Uva Provinces is an extension of the Government of India’s overall commitment of constructing 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka.

This Project envisages construction of new houses, through a peoples’ process with the involvement of beneficiaries and Estate Workers’ Housing Cooperative Societies (EWHCS). The project is implemented in close collaboration with the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), respective Regional Plantation Companies (RPC) and the Estate Worker Housing Cooperative Societies (EWHCS) of the selected estates.

Divided into three phases, the project is currently its first phase during which the implementation strategy is tested through the construction of 1,134 housing units constructed by four implementing partners. Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka as one such implementing partner has constructed 98 homes for plantation workers in the Hellboda Estate, Pussellawa as part of Phase 1 of this project. In addition, 265 homes in 5 new tea plantations in the Kandy and Nuwaraeliya Districts will be constructed in 2019.

As part of this project, homes are constructed for families under the home owner driven approach. This approach encourages homeowners to take ownership of their homes, with extensive orientation and training given on technical aspects and house lifecycle management. The participatory method of decision-making within this approach helps homeowners to develop their skills and self-reliance.

Each house constructed through the Indian Housing Project will be a minimum of 550 square feet, consisting of two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a toilet. The beneficiaries have the flexibility to expand the houses after the completion of the basic core-house is constructed under the project. Beneficiaries are also encouraged to provide in-kind contributions of labour and building materials towards the construction efforts in order to save costs.

IHP Infographic

IHP House 2018-1

Homes contructed for plantation workers in the Estate consist of 2 bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, sanitation facilities, and a verandah. The Indian Housing Project in the Central and Uva Provinces will benefit Plantation Estate Workers who live in poor conditions referred to as ‘line rooms’

IHP House 2018-2

A completed home of the Indian Housing Project in the Central Province at Hellboda Estate Visibility for the Indian Housing Project funded by the Government of India.

Kalutara Housing Project (Phase 1 & 2)

Kalutara Housing Project (Phase 1 & 2)

Kalutara Housing Project
Building Disaster Resilient Communities

The Kalutara Housing Project was initiated in August 2017 to construct 37 homes for low-income families in the District of Kalutara. The selected beneficiary families originally lived in small one-bedroom temporary wooden structures with limited protection from adverse weather conditions; outside intruders and provided minimal privacy for the girl child.

These temporary structures were also extremely unsafe and unstable as they had not been constructed on a strong foundation and had a poorly constructed roof – which could easily blow off as a result of strong winds. Each year, the Kalutara District reports high incidents of floods and landslides during times of cyclonic weather conditions, and these 37 families were among those most vulnerable to disasters given the conditions of their unsafe temporary wooden structures, they called home.

As part of the Kalutara Housing Project, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka selected 24 beneficiary families in Vincentiyanugama Village and 13 families in Diyalagoda Village to receive new homes through this housing project.

All 37 houses of this project are lockable houses that have been specifically designed to include disaster resilient features to minimize the risk of future disasters such as floods, in accordance with the standards of the NBRO.The cost of construction of all 37 homes was sponsored through a grant of LKR 51 Million made by an individual donor. The Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo donated 8 perches of land to each family in these two villages for the construction of these homes.

The Kalutara Housing Project has successfully provided 37 families, a total of 162 individuals and 70 children a safe and decent place to call home.

Completed Habitat Homes handed over to the 37 beneficiary families in Kalutara

KHP Project Impact Infographic

Jennifer Lemke (Netherlands)

Jennifer Lemke (Netherlands)

Jennifer Lemke (Netherlands)

Jennifer Lemke is not only the team leader of a group of 14 power women called ‘Hammers and Heels’ but she’s also the National Director of Habitat for Humanity Netherlands.

Jennifer considers ‘Hammers and Heels’ a medium to expose people in the various walks of life to the work of Habitat worldwide. Prior to their GV trip to Sri Lanka, the Power Women made three other GV trips in the recent past, where they volunteered and helped to uplift communities. As a team leader Jennifer is passionate about giving the team opportunities to experience new places and cultures while giving them great memories and also validating their efforts.Jennifer Lemke-Q

The ‘Hammers and Heels’ team finds volunteering fulfilling because it not only provides them with an opportunity to make a meaningful change in people’s lives but it also allows them to experience how selfless people can truly be, in spite of them having very little and yet are willing to share what little they have even with strangers.

Jennifer made her first trip to Sri Lanka a little over ten years ago- during the aftermath of the Tsunami. In May 2018, Jennifer had the opportunity to return to Sri Lanka through ‘Hammers and Heels’. Volunteering in Sri Lanka years later and assisting victims of the civil war to rebuild their lives, Jennifer considers this an aspiring and moving return to the country. She’s proud that her team was able to play a small yet vital role in helping People to uplift the quality of their lives through Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka.

 

 

Jan Bodewes (Netherlands)

Jan Bodewes (Netherlands)

Jan Bodewes (Netherlands)

Jan Bodewes (65) has been part of 19 Global Village volunteer builds across the world, making him one of the most outstanding volunteers Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka has had the pleasure of working with. Jan lives in the Netherlands and enjoys being a husband, a proud father of two daughters and grandfather of 4 grandsons. Since he was young, he had always dreamed of becoming a skilled mason, because he wanted to be able to create something tangible. He eventually didnot became a professional mason, but went on to open his own business in construction.Jan Bodewes

Jan’s initial GV trip was to the Philippines as  young volunteer, and later he gradually transitioned from being a volunteer to becoming a team leader. His first trip to Sri Lanka was in 2005 – in the aftermath of the Tsunami. His life changing experience in Sri Lanka made him determined to return to Sri Lanka again someday.

For Jan, volunteering was important because he had a yearning to make a meaningful change in people’s lives; and what better way to do this than with a home. As a team leader he is passionate about giving the volunteer teams the opportunities to experience new places and cultures while giving them great memories and also validating their efforts. He believes that he volunteers on GV trips for one particular reason; that is to make someone else’s life better. GV trips have been eye opening experience for Jan, especially by witnessing the generosity of people who have very little and yet are willing to share what little they have even with strangers.

In 2016, Jan had the opportunity to return to Sri Lanka as a volunteer once again. Jan’s team of GV volunteers contributed towards building a disaster resilient home for a family in a rural flood prone community in Sri Lanka. Jan says that, “During the build in Sri Lanka, I found confidence in my construction experience and all the GV trips I had been a part of.”

Jan Bodewes’ 20th GV trip is planned to China this year; which is a country the Netherlands volunteers have never had the opportunity to visit before. He looks back at his time as a volunteer as a truly once in a lifetime experience, and he encourages many others to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

Jan Bodewes-2

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

 

Vajira and her family moved into their first own home constructed through the Kalutara Housing Project lead by Habitat for Humanity on the 1st of April 2018.

Vajira was compelled to be the breadwinner of her family because her husband had an unfortunate accident and lost his thumb while was operating heavy machinery at his job- and due to this situation, he is unable to find a paying job.New Beginnings

Vajira recalls a time when they lived in a wooden shack they called home. She feared for her daughters safety in their previous home as it wouldget flooded during the rainy season. Today Vajira says she is no longer afraid for her daughter’s safety as they finally have a safe place to call home. This Habitat home is more than a house to her family – it is a relief to  an otherwise difficult life, where only Vajira is abe to bring an income into their household.

Vajira and her family, moments before they step into their Habitat Home and begin their new, uplifted life.

A Mother’s Dream

A Mother’s Dream

A Mother’s Dream

Perinparasa takes care of a household with 7 vibrant members in it. She is a daily wage laborer and works regularly at nearly by paddy fields. Her husband is a fisherman and spends most of his time at the coast of Batticaloa looking for work to provide for their family.

Her eldest son works in Saudi Arabia and earns a salary of LKR. 25,000/- (approx USD 160), and sends his family in Batticaloa a portion of it to contribute to their living expenses.A Mother’s Dream

Perinparsa commented that “a home is where a family can live happily together and feel safe no matter what problems happen in life”.

Her eldest daughter Shyalini (20 years old) is looking at new opportunities for work, and has applied for jobs at reputable local companies to widen her horizons so she can also help take care of her five younger siblings. She is excitedely waiting for a seccond interview with a globally renown garment factory in Batticaloa. Should she succed in securing a job, Shyalini would be the first woman to be employed and receive a stable income in her family.

This conventional home constructed through the “Homes not Houses” European Union funded project, has given a safe space for Perinparasa’s children to grow up in, and for them to create happy memories together, while having the necessary space and security to study and play.

Dyanamic and playful children of Perinparasa now have a safe place to play, and a strong roof over their head to keep them safe.

 

The Road to Recovery

The Road to Recovery

The Road to Recovery

Sujeewa beams with glee as she welcomes guests into her first home owned by her family, after years of living in houses that were rented. Sujeewa’s husband Susil (48) is a cancer survivor, who currently owns a rickshaw and takes hires to bring a steady income for their family.Road to recovery

Their eldest daughter (23) is married and lives with her own family; their second daughter (21) works at a local grocery store and helps with the finances at home and saves for her own future, while their three youngest daughters are still attending school.  Sujeewa explains how owning a house was an unrealistic dream a few years ago with her husband being diagnosed with cancer.

It was a difficult time and Sujeewa had many worries about the safety of her daughters alongside the duty of caring for her husband. “With God’s grace my husband is now cured and my children are safe under this new roof” Sujeewa said. Now with a secure home, Sujeewa is able to live with fewer worries, and is optimistic to see her daughters having a stable place to study and enhance their future.

Sujeewa stands proudly together with her husband and their 5 daughters in their new Habitat Home

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

Sudarshani and Indika live in their new Habitat home with their four children aged 17, 11, 8 and 4 and Sudarshani’s elderly mother. The family of seven previously lived in a single room temporary shelter made of wooden planks, which Indika had sourced from the neighbourhood.A Dream Come True

“This is a dream come true for our family. I believe this new home is the beginning of a brand new chapter in our lives”
Indika’s main livelihood is deep sea fishing, however since Sudarshani suffers from Epilepsy, Indika has been unable to leave his family for long periods of time and has been working as a daily wage labourer in order to care for his family during this difficult time. With the increase in cost of living and the lack of daily wage labour opportunities Indika says their family has been struggling to cover their basic needs in the last two years. Given their circumstances Sudarshani and Indika firmly believe that their new Habitat Home was indeed a blessing from God, as they could otherwise never imagine owning a home of their own.

Sudarshani who was excited to show us her new home which they had taken much care in decorating. She said, “This is a dream come true for our family. I believe this new home is the beginning of a brand-new chapter in our lives”. She is confident that her children now have a safe place to grow up in.

Sudarshani has been undergoing treatment for her seizures and with the help of her mother, she is now looking to gain employment in the nearby village. Indika too feels that he no longer has to fear for the safety of his family because of their new home, and he is once again hoping to begin his fishing expeditions.

Indika and Sudarshini celebrate their house- warming day with their family – and make plans for a brighter future