A foundation of Hope

A foundation of Hope

Palitha and Kanthimalika, lived with their daughter and her family in a shelter made of wooden planks and metal sheets. Their daughter worked in a local grocery store, her husband earning a daily wage through rickshaw hires. The latter which was rented consumed most of his earnings leaving him with the bare minimum with which to support his family. Cramped in a limited space that afforded neither safety nor adequate shelter, this family of five survived as best they could. In November 2017 when Cyclone Ockhi ravaged the South of Sri Lanka, this family barely made it out alive when the strong winds blew away their home. All their belongings, including their little grand-daughter Savisha Muthuhansi’s school books were swept away, along with any hopes of building a better future for themselves. Kalutara, where Palitha and Kanthimalika lived was the worst hit area, where over 55,000 people were affected.  Left with only the clothes on their backs, Palitha and Kanthimalika, bereft of anything to call their own, but their precious family, found new hope when they became the proud owners of their own Habitat Home.

“We never dreamed that a house like this could be our own” says Kanthimalika, as with tears in her eyes she looks about the home that she has furnished with pride. Bright pink walls, gaily coloured curtains, an alter where the oil lamp burns relentlessly, potted plants breathing new life,  it is a home filled with the warmth of hope and thanksgiving.

The family’s dreams are now for the bright future that young Savisha has before her. Delighted with the ample and safe play area she has to call her own, Savisha, enclosed in the warm embrace of her grandmothers arms, with a bright sparkle in her eye, confidently declares ” when I grow up I want to have a job – I want to be a teacher”. With big smiles and eyes tender with love, Palitha and Kanthimalika, look on with pride, assured that with the new home they invested in with their labour and meagre savings, they have helped their daughter build a solid foundation of hope for their beloved Savisha.

 

Paving new avenues

Paving new avenues

Paving new avenues

 

Like most families during the war, Yohamalar and her family were compelled to seek shelter in refugee camps. After the war ended in 2009 her family built a temporary shelter for themselves, but it lacks security and it is a constricted space. Yohamalar has overcome many challenges while supporting her family, and cares for her teenage son who has special needs while continuously trying to create a safe and warm environment for him to grow up in. The 50 year old mother explains how proud she is of her elder daughter who is currently doing a course on Nursing, and will be the first female in her whole family to start earning her own income. Yohamalar expressed how hopeful and thrilled she is with the construction of their new home.

Yohamalar told us that her joy comes from a place that truly believes this new home will be a driving force in their life as a family, and will “improve the quality of life” for her children and “help them study better and have a better chance and creating a good life for themselves.”

Home is where the heart is

Home is where the heart is

Home is where the heart is

Nilani, a mother of two, tells her story of how Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka changed her family’s life. Prior to being a beneficiary in 2012, Nilani and her family never had a permanent home. They faced many challenges as a result of not having a safe or adequate place to live in together; Nilani recalls how her family had to live separately as a result. Her children lived with her sister, while Nilani and her husband moved from one place to another. They rarely got to see each other since they didn’t live in the same space. To them, their Habitat home is more than a house.  It is a place to call their own, where they can live together as one family. During the construction of their home back in 2012, it was Nilani who took the lead in preparing tea for Volunteers during their Habitat builds. She felt that it was the least she could do in appreciation of the people who were giving her family an opportunity to be under one roof together.

Nilani shares the simple joys she now has the opportunity to have; being with her children every day while cooking them healthy meals and chatting with them about their day after they come home from work. Their family is now together and complete; under the strong roof of their home. Inspired by the new hope in their lives, her daughter (22 years) and her son (26 years) are working hard and saving up to expand their home.

Changemaker

Changemaker

Changemaker

Premalatha works in the plantations of Hellbodde Estate and is a part of the committee formed by the homeowners of the Indian Housing Project. She is a resilient single mother of two. Her daughter is happily married and lives close by to her new home with her own family. Premalatha lives in her new Habitat home with her son; who works in the town as a mason. A great source of strength to her, he has always supported her in life since he was young.

Reflecting on how her life has changed after being a beneficiary of the Indian Housing Project; Premalatha says “I had to go through so many struggles with my abusive husband years ago; I had no choice but to keep moving forward and be strong for my children… I always dreamed of being able to live comfortably in a home that was my own”.

A strong advocate of female empowerment in her community she works hard to be a source of support and friendship to her neighbors. Premalatha also facilitates language classes (Sinhalese and Tamil) for the youth in her community; in hopes that they will be better equipped in the world to find good employment.

Premalatha is very happy with the opportunity that the Indian Housing Project has given her to become a homeowner. She says; “This is a decade long dream that is finally coming true. I have no words to thank Habitat for Humanity for making my dreams become a reality”.

 

Re-building hope

Re-building hope

Re-building hope

Chandani cannot wipe the smile off of her face as she speaks about her new home. She lives with her daughter, Dinushika, and also takes care for her infirmed mother. Chandani and her family suffered severely with the landslide disaster that struck in May of 2016. They felt extremely fortunate when they learnt that they were receiving a new home through Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka.

“We never imagined that we would be able to rebuild our lives after we lost our home in the landslides last year. We are so grateful to Habitat for Humanity for their support and feel so blessed that my family finally has a safe and permanent place to call home”.