Transforming 21,125 houses to homes in northern Sri Lanka

Thursday, 24 December 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Untitled-1The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) supported by the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has announced the completion of 21,125 houses constructed for families returning from a 30-year-old conflict to Northern Sri Lanka.

The Project – Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Program (RC PCRP) that began in 2010, aimed at providing cash grants for the most vulnerable in order to rebuild their house, has now managed to provide support to over 400,000 people directly and indirectly. Initially the program began with support from various partner national societies across the world; later on in 2012 the Government of India providing additional funding support to expand this project to cover over 17,000 families brought the total support to over 21,000 families.

“This project began on the backdrop of the tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation program,” says SLRCS President Jagath Abeysinghe. “We had the expertise to do this but funding for a project like this did not pour smilier to the aftermath of the tsunami. That’s why this achievement rings so loud to all of us.”

The program focuses on two main components: The construction and repair of houses, and promoting better sanitation and hygiene. The other areas of focus include community infrastructure, livelihoods, healthcare, disaster management and infrastructure development with the aim of making these communities more sustainable and resilient.

Prior to the commencement of the project the Government of Sri Lanka provides the list of beneficiaries to the Red Cross. Once the Red Cross confirms that the people in the list are indeed the most vulnerable then an MoU is signed between the beneficiary and the Red Cross. After commencement of the project the Red Cross provides technical support to help build their home. This happens in four stages where the complete grant of 550,000 rupees is given in four instalments. The first stage is to lay the foundation, the next to construct walls, the third to complete the roof and the fourth to complete the house.

The RC PCRP also managed to build four community halls along with community water and sanitation facilities in the areas of implementation based on a needs assessment.

“We really need to thank our donors, specially the Government of India for coming forward in our hour of need,” says SLRCS Director General Tissa Abeywickrama. “Also we sincerely thank our own partner national societies like Australian Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Irish Red Cross, Korean Red Cross, Monaco Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, German Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, Hong Kong Branch of Red Cross Society of China, Taiwan Red Cross Organisation, UAE Red Crescent, Spanish Red Cross, the IFRC and the ICRC for their generous contribution and support from the very beginning of this project.”