Mahieash Johnney – Snr. Manager of Communications in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Homepage Photo – Mukesh Singh)
19/03/2013 – Mannar, Sri Lanka – The first house under the Indian Housing (IHP) Project, with the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) & Sri Lanka Red Cross Society as implementing agencies for 16,800 houses, is now complete, and the proud owner Mr. and Mrs Jawath moved into the new house recently.
Mr. and Mrs. Jawath have three daughters and a son who count themselves fortunate to be able to go to school . They are residents of Rasool Puthveli in the Naththan District Secretariat located in the Mannar District. Initially when the war broke off in 1990, the Jawaths lost their house and were forced to leave. Since then they have been living in various parts of Northern Sri Lanka running from one place to the other seeking shelter and protection.
After the conflict ended in the North – Western shores of Sri Lanka in 2008, he came back to his ancestral land in Rasool Puthveli. Now his family has grown to six, he has managed to build a small hut on the land belonging to his father, but struggles with his family to survive. In 2012 he became eligible to receive support from the Indian Housing Project, hence he began to build a new house for his family.
“Building a house of our own is indeed a dream come true for people like us” says Jawath. “This would have never been possible if we were to do it alone.”
Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme (RC – PCRP)
The Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme (RC – PCRP) has been implemented successfully with the SLRCS since April 2010, having a partnership with IFRC and other Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners. The programme contributes to the sustainable rehabilitation and reconstruction in the North of Sri Lanka, an area of the country, which remains in great need of development assistance. It primarily supports people who have been displaced due to the conflict and are now resettling. The programme is an integrated IFRC intervention with overall coordination by IFRC, with the support of bilateral and multilateral partners.
Meanwhile in mid 2012 the Red Cross partnered with the Government of India to further strengthen the support towards the people of the north by adding another 16,800 beneficiaries.
Indian Housing Project
The Indian Housing Project is funded by the Government of India and implemented through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL). Four Implementing Agencies (IAs) have been selected for this project.
“The support from the Government of India has given us the resources to continue an owner driven model of house construction that we have almost perfected, to reach more familes that are in a desperate situation ,” says Bob McKerrow, Head of Delegation of IFRC in Sri Lanka.
“Initially the Red Cross was hoping to help around 3000 households, but now this has given us the funding capacity to reach an additional 16,800 families. “
With the support of the Indian Government the programme has now managed to expand its support in all 5 district of the northern province of Sri Lanka. The project is expected to end in 2015. As of now the project has seen the implementation of 5000 houses from the total 16,800.
Sandra D’Urzo the Senior Officer of the Shelter Department of IFRC in Geneva recently toured the project sites of the Indian Housing Project to observe the progress and modalities and was of the view that now that the project is well under way, there needs to be greater emphasis on wider community development to cement the huge gains made.