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From crisis to comfort: Inspiring Sri Lanka’s war-torn north

May 29, 2014

Having survived the civil war that raged her country, a Sri Lankan woman inspires other victims of the war by rebuilding her house in 65 days.

Mannar: 35 year-old Lucia Susai has faced many challenges in her life. A widow with children and an ailing mother to look after, she was the sole breadwinner of her family and the family lacked a proper house to live in. Affected by the civil war that once wracked the country, Lucia, who was also wounded by a claymore bomb, lost her home and was forced to take shelter in a refugee camp in northern Sri Lanka until the conflict ended.

In December 2013, Lucia’s luck changed when she received funding from the Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme to build a new home. The programme aims to help thousands of families uprooted by the war to resettle in the North of the country. It is funded by the Indian Government and implemented by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Lucia managed to save some of the grant she received from the Red Cross by excavating the foundation of her house herself and casting 800 brick blocks. With further help from local masons and the members of the Women Rural Development Society in Mannar, Lucia was able to complete her house within 65 days.

Mukesh Singh, senior delegate of the Red Cross Post Conflict Recovery Programme, remarked on her achievement.  “We were amazed by her determination and what she was able to do with the funds she received through the project,” he added.

Lucia now lives in her brand new home, with her 13-year-old daughter and 76-year-old mother, in the Paalaiadi-Puthukulam village in Mannar - North of Sri Lanka.

“I have finally fulfilled my life-long dream of having a house that I can sleep peacefully in”, she says. “I was also able to build a nice room for my daughter with a table so she can concentrate better when studying.”

SOURCE: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

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