Mahieash Johnney & Zafran Packeerally in Colombo contributed to this story…
28/05/2015 – Jaffna, Sri Lanka: The Post Conflict Recovery of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) supported by the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and funded by the Indian Government has completed over 11,100 permanent houses resulting in over 55,000 people moving into new homes after returning from a 30 year old conflict.
In 2010 the SLRCS began its mission to aid the people who were returning from the conflict by commissioning to build 300 houses. However within a few years SLRCS along with IFRC managed to increase the support to over 3,500 houses. Later on with the funding support from the Government of India the final support in the Post Conflict Recovery Programme was increased to 17,900 houses.
Early this year, 36-year-old Amirtha Vadhani and her son moved to a newly built house in Thirumurukandy village. She was displaced in 2009 in the final battle that ravaged her village and forced her to move to a temporary camp. After the dust of conflict settled she was able to move back, however her old home was no longer there.
The Post Conflict Recovery Project has always aimed at aiding people like Vadhani to rebuild their home and to have a stable lifestyle.
“When I saw my name on the beneficiary list, I was overjoyed yet concerned at the same time. My first question was how am I to finish this house by myself,” says Vadhani.
Yet she was not to be left alone.
The Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme is aimed at ensuring that the most vulnerable people are given another chance to rebuild their lives. Hence the funds as well as the technical support to build the house are provided by the Red Cross. The beneficiaries on the other hand need to find the manual labor support in building the house. Despite being in a woman headed house Vadhani managed to gather the support of people in her village so that she could complete the work at the given timeframe.
From the commissioned 17,900 houses the SLRCS has managed to complete 11,165 homes up to date and have handed over to the relevant beneficiaries who have moved in to their new homes.
“Our target is to deliver the remaining 6,335 houses by the end of this year” says Nimal Silva, the Programme Manager of the Post Conflict Recovery Programme of SLRCS. “However there’s over 50,000 more houses required in order to cater to the needs of people who are yet to be settled”
Joining him is his counterpart from IFRC Mukesh Singh who said “The Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme has always aimed at providing a wholesome package for the people we serve. We do not simply provide a house, but provide the means and support of having a better life once they move into their new home”
For more information about the Sri Lanka Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme please visit www.redcross.lk/idp