Christopher is a daily wage labourer who lives in an aging temporary structure with his wife Niluka (44). Christopher finds work whenever he can as a gardener, and Niluka works at a nearby coconut factory for 3 days of the week in order to lessen the financial burden on her husband. Since birth, Christopher had suffered paralysis on his right arm and leg – but his wife recalls how when she met him, he was always a hard-working man despite his physical challenges. Together they have two children; Nilushana (20) and Ganguli (10). Nilushana gave up his dreams of pursing a higher education in order to support his family. He is employed at a soap packing business in town, which doesn’t earn him much, but he is happy that it is an additional income for their family. His sisters, Ganguli (10) is studying hard for the Grade 5 scholarship examination next year, in the hopes of qualifying to gain entrance to a better school with more facilities. She dreams of growing up and becoming a teacher.
The home they live in now was built using all of Christopher and Niluka’s savings more than a decade ago. The home which is now in very poor condition is constructed with tin sheets, which provides little protection from harsh weather conditions. Although the house is built with cement blocks, it is a small single room space offering very limited space for the family of four. Although they are a close-knit family, Niluka says she wishes they had more space, especially for Ganguli who needs her own space and privacy to thrive as a girl-child.
The family has no access to electricity and little Ganguli studies late into the night with the aid of a kerosene lamp. Christopher and Niluka often worry about the future of their children. Niluka says that her main concern is her daughter’s safety. She dreams of a future where her young daughter may have her own space to grow up in security while having the necessary space to play, study and follow her own dreams.
“We are hardworking people. All we dream of is giving our children a safe and stable place to call their home. We want them to have a chance to succeed in life.”Niluka