Irangani (42) and her family of five, live in a small tin hut which only has space to accommodate five plastic chairs and a small wooden stove. Irangani and her family spend the day in the hut and go to her mother’s house many meters away, just to sleep at night. The family has been following this routine for the past 23 years due to the inadequate space and lack of security of their current temporary shelter.

Irangani’s husband Nimalasiri (48) is a daily-wage labourer who earns only LKR 22,000 a month – that too depends entirely on whether he is able to secure work that month. Together they have a young daughter, Dinudi (11) and two sons, Sarath (26) and Chamira (21), who also work as daily-wage labourers, hoping to supplement their father’s income. Unfortunately, Sarath met with an accident a few years ago and has been unable to work since.  Following the accident, Sarath has been unable to do any strenuous work. This not only took a toll on them financially, but it was also been emotionally challenging for all of them having to watch Sarath adjust to his new life.

“Every day is a constant battle to keep going. A home of our own seems like a distant dream. My entire married life has been spent in this little hut, my children have not known any other home. I’m praying for a miracle for my family. For a second chance at life for my children. My dream is to be able to provide a home that is safe and secure for my children, without having to move from place to place every night.”

Irangani

Yatawatta, Matale

Irangani and Nimalsiri have tried hard to provide the best medical treatment to help Sarath recover, by obtaining a loan to cover the expenses. Speaking of her son’s condition Irangani says, “it is unbearable to watch him like this; he was independent and capable but now he has no job and is unable to do basic things; he has not been the same since the accident.”

Irangani’s dream was to give her children a sound education, but her sons were never able to pursue an education due to financial constraints. Now her only hope is to ensure that Dinudi is given a ladder to a better future. Dinudi loves going to school and will be scored well at the recently concluded scholarship examination. However, Irangani and Nimalsiri find it difficult to pay LKR 500 needed for Dinudi’s extra classes monthly and LKR 1,500 needed to stitch two uniforms for her each year.

The family depends on Irangani’s mother for safety, as they travel to her house each night to sleep. With no access to electricity, Dinudi studies with the aid of a kerosene oil lamp and Irangani travels at least 500m to the closest well each morning to collect water. Having no access to adequate toilet facilities, Dinudi very often waits to go to school to use the school toilets or waits to go to her grandmother’s home whenever possible.