July 31, 2011
Rasaniah Velluphillai proudly pointed at the members of her family who were building a new wall on their home. “We are expanding from our earnings after two years, using our own masonry and carpentry skills,” she explained. Despite having to care for a sick husband and two sick children, Rasaniah has found the time and energy to expand her home.
PWRDF, through the Organizaiton for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation (OfERR), provided the Velluphillai family and others in their village with semi-permanent houses. The 45 families living in the community had been displaced during the 2004 tsunami and relocated further inland. By 2006, the Sri Lankan civil war had spread into the region they had relocated to. In 2008, the Sri Lankan government moved them to their current location.
The problem with their current land is that it is low-lying and prone to flooding during the rainy season. The Velluphillai family, along with their neighbors, identified the problem and worked together (with support from OfERR) to build a raised road. This road protects their houses from flooding.
Despite the rise in poverty in their community after the tsunami and the war, Rasaniah is hopeful. She is proud of what her family and her community have accomplished to improve things. And she is thankful to PWRDF and OfERR for giving them a leg up.