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