Skint couple with no construction experience built their dream

Build House for 50000

Simple House Building / August 16, 2021

Following the prolonged civil war in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009, the Government of India took the decision to provide humanitarian and financial support to the Government and people of Sri Lanka to help them recover from the trauma of war. In total, the Government of India is supporting a number of self-help housing rehabilitation/development programmes costing over USD $240 million. Some of this funding is a grant, for example the funding for the 50, 000 Houses of War Victims project, and some takes the form of long-term loan assistance.

For this project financial assistance and organisational support has been provided to help internally displaced people to construct their own homes. The target is to fund and build 50, 000 houses, for an estimated total of 225, 000 people. The majority of the houses, 44, 000 are self-build, 4, 000 will be built by plantation workers. One thousand houses were constructed by commercial contractors before the owner driven approach was introduced as a more suitable solution. The focus on self-build is designed to give people a real say in their own housing solutions.

The programme focuses on internally displaced people in dispersed, rural areas of Northern, Eastern, Central and Uva provinces of Sri Lanka. The basis of the programme is that people are enabled to return to land and property which they owned and lived in prior to the war. In effect, this means that some families are moving back to the area they left in 2009 or before.

The houses that are developed are on average 550 ft2 in size, so relatively large compared to those often built as part of rehabilitation projects. The home owners are able to make decisions on the design, materials used, size of the house and whether they wish to add in their own savings or loans to include specific features or make the house larger.

Since the construction work started in 2012, forty-five thousand, two hundred houses of the 50, 000 target have been completed. The houses are built on existing sites in villages or new sites provided by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Aims and Objectives

The main aim of the project is to deliver homes for internally displaced people in a quick and sustainable way. These people are the direct victims of the conflict: those who lost homes, property, assets, family members, livelihoods, income and social networks. The other beneficiaries are the plantation workers living in poor housing and environmental conditions for whom 4, 000 houses are being constructed.