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.