Persons battling disabilities and special needs are very often marginalized in their communities and as such lack access to basic amenities such as decent shelter and sanitation facilities. The Homes for Hope Project initiated by Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka, sought to provide such persons with disabilities (PWDs) with safe, decent and affordable places to call home. This unique housing initiative estimated at approximately LKR 60 million was sponsored by the family of Dr. & Mrs. J.H.F.Jayasuriya, who have been long-standing supporters of the work of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka. In January 2021, the Homes for Hope Project reached its completion, successfully providing 61 families of PWDs in Gampaha and Galle Districts with safe and decent housing; through the construction of new homes, and by assisting the improvement of existing homes that were in poor condition.

Every family supported through the Homes for Hope Project has at least one family member (or more) who is differently-abled or has special needs (such as persons who are visually impaired, or persons with hearing and speech deficiencies and other physical disabilities caused by diseases such as Leprosy). Prior to the implementation of the Homes for Hope Project, these beneficiary families lived in extremely poor housing conditions – in extremely unsafe, unstable and unhygienic environments with limited space and little protection from adverse weather.

The housing project was implemented in two phases. The first phase of the project focused on providing housing solutions for families in Katana in the Gampaha District; constructing 15 new homes for PWD families in Nayanalokagama village, a community of visually impaired families. Additionally, under Phase 1 of the project 31 low-income PWD families were provided with financial assistance to repair their existing homes which were in urgent need of renovations. Each new home constructed meets the local building codes and Habitat for Humanity International’s construction standards, and is 550 sq.ft. in extent containing two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and attached toilet. Under Phase 2 of the Homes for Hope Project, 15 PWD families in Galle were provided with new 550sq.ft.Habitat homes.

Building on the growing focus on sustainability, Habitat Sri Lanka utilized appropriate technology and sustainable construction materials to construct all 15 new homes located in Galle. Using earth blocks referred to as Compressed Stabilized Engineered Blocks (CSEB), Habitat for Humanity has successfully constructed homes that are both eco-friendly & energy-efficient, recording a lower environmental impact as it uses a lesser amount of cement as opposed to traditional cement-sand blocks, reducing harmful emissions and waste. CSEB blocks are produced locally with locally sourced materials and its ability to absorb atmospheric moisture creates a cooler and healthier environment compared to traditional cement-sand blocks.

Symbolizing the completion of the Homes for Hope Project, the newly constructed homes were handed over to the communities in Gampaha and Galle on the 8th and 9th of April, 2021 by Mr. Yu Hwa Li, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka, The Homes for Hope Project has provided safe shelter to 61 low-income families of PWDs, as a result supporting more than 200+ individuals achieve stability, providing more than 75 children with a safe place to thrive and empowering more than 26 female headed households.

Operating in Sri Lanka since 1994, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka has implemented numerous housing projects such as the Indian Housing Project and the Homes not Houses Project funded by the European Union, assisting more than 27,000+ families across the country to build homes and improve their shelter conditions. To learn more and to support the work of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka please visit www.habitatsrilanka.org or email info@habitatsrilanka.org