When the Tsunami came, along with the tidal wave came an influx of non-profits all bringing aid and help and development. That was in 2004. We’re long past that stage now. Most of the superheroes have packed up their gig and moved on in search of the next storm.
And some of them stayed. Some of them realized that there is a greater need than that caused by natural disasters. The everyday man living in his poverty cycle also needed a helping hand. Some of the people who stayed behind are Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka (HFHSL) and they are in the business of metaphorically and literally laying down foundations for new beginnings.
Or in other words – building houses.
Sajith De Silva and his extended family of five members lived in a little house made mostly of wood. A hall, a room, a kitchen and a dilapidated toilet was what Sajith called ‘home’. For Sajith having a decent place to live was a mere dream.
Between three members of his family, their salaries only totaled Rs. 45,000 per month. Even then, this was not a stable income. With mouths to feed, this was clearly not enough to make their dream a reality. On rainy days, the roof leaked. Every day they practically lived in fear as their ‘home’ lacked security.
A house. It’s a basic need. To live in decent living conditions. To have the ability to invite others to your home creates a status, gives one a sense of dignity. And that’s what HFHSL does. It restores dignity by eliminating homelessness and providing homes – secure housing.
Habitat for Humanity partnered with an organisation called Back to the Bible, and another individual Darshini Pieris who also wanted to help in the building of the house. Darshini, her son and his two friends from America worked side by side with Sajith's family at the site for two weeks.
On the 26th of January 2012, HFHSL handed over the house to an ecstatic Sajith De Silva. His house consisted of two bedrooms and one living room with good plastering and the house was secure. With their own savings Sajith De Silva added a toilet and a bathroom to improve their sanitation facilities.
Sajith happily says: “The donation of this house to us was of great assistance. We are truly grateful to Habitat and the donor – Darshini Pieris.”
HFHSL’s goal is to eliminate poverty by providing secure housing. Habitat for Humanity is not contained to a geographical location in the map, they are located in different parts of the world and their goal is to eradicate homelessness all over the world.
That sounds like a colossal task right?
With more than 1,500 local affiliates in the United States and more than 70 national organizations around the world they just might get rid of homelessness as they plan to do so and in double quick time with so many people all over the world working towards the same goal. Habitat for Humanity International has helped build or repair more than 800,000 houses and has served more than 4 million people worldwide.
Here in Sri Lanka Habitat for Humanity works Islandwide (East, West, North, South & Central Regions) and since 1995, has served over 18,000 Sri Lankan families.
Habitat for Humanity works through generous donations and insist that every penny counts. So if you think what you wish to give is nothing compared to what goes into building a house, you should get that out of your head right now. Whatever you can give, goes a long way, is their attitude towards donations.
And if you would like to volunteer – they also have volunteer programs in which you get a hands on experience in building a house – of course with others as well but how cool is that? To volunteer contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Not ready to donate or volunteer yet but still want a piece of the action? Then Habitat Sri Lanka offers you another way to spread the word around so that people who make decisions and who are able to facilitate change will listen – use your voice & Advocate! You can start by liking their Facebook page and letting your friends & colleagues know that you believe that EVERYONE in Sri Lanka, deserves a decent home to live in.
Watch this short animated video to learn how http://www.habitat.org/gov/use-your-voice
“Everyone—all of us, every last person on God’s earth—deserves decent shelter. It speaks to the most basic of human needs—our home—the soil from which all of us, every last person, either blossom or wither. We each have need of food, clothing, education, medical care, and companionship; but first, we must have a place to live and grow.”
— Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity International.
Link to donate: http://www.hfhsl.org/donate-to-habitat.html
(Names have been changed to retain privacy) .