Building their own safe home
The UNDP Community Reconstruction Project III, funded by the Government of Japan, provided permanent houses to 24 families in Palarachenai, a village in the northwest of Batticaloa.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Thampirasa Manokari (52) expressing her thoughts stated, “When our family was selected as a beneficiary of the permanent housing project which was delivered by UNDP, I couldn’t believe what I heard. It was a gift. What I did was just writing my name on a paper and submitting it to the Women Rural Development Society (WRDS).”
Under the project, Thampirasa’s family laid the foundation stone for their new house next to the ruins of their previous one, a thatched-hut destroyed during the conflict. An owner-driven housing project, Thampirasa worked with her family members to build their own house. They also received assistance from WRDS group members. Following six months of construction, the family moved into the new house, and is now engaged in home gardening.
“Living in a thatched hut was very difficult. When it rained, we couldn’t take a rest inside, because it leaked everywhere from the roof. We used to stay up the whole night sitting on the corner of the shed. In addition, repairing the leakages and rotten thatch was a troublesome process. However, now we don’t have to worry about repairing the roof and maintaining the building any more” said Thampirasa, smiling. She adds proudly that during rain she provides shelter for her neighbours now.
She adds, “Our previous thatched hut was too small for kids to play inside. I had to kick them out of the hut so they always stayed outside. However, these are old stories now. Even though it rains, they can play in the cement floored rooms and there’s no fear of having snakes inside the house.”
Thampirasa further explains that she took on a more active role in WRDS activities after they were selected as beneficiaries of the housing project, and is now engaged in community work. Having overcome many difficulties she now expresses hope as she looks towards her new safe home.