Fuller Center for Housing Mission Trip to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a small island (slightly larger than West Virginia) located south of India in the Indian Ocean. Well built, clean housing is rare and very expensive in Sri Lanka. Therefore, families collect whatever they can to create a shelter. Many families live in slums or wooden shacks. Those who have land often cannot afford to build a house on the land or obtain a loan due to high interest rates. Often the land is worthless and cannot be sold. Families who rent are required to pay a majority of their income for rent with very little left for other basic needs. We are addressing these needs by partnering with the United Christian Fellowship to help families build or improve their homes using no-profit, no-interest loans.
Our work includes renovations, half-built houses, roof repairs, room additions and full house constructions. As of June 2015, over 100 families have moved into new homes or had their homes substantially improved through partnership with the Fuller Center, but there is much left to do. Our work is based in Moratuwa, but projects have extended throughout the island as urgent needs have been addressed. The project stems from our Christian faith and partners with any family in need, regardless of ethnic group or religion. The project’s leader Rev. Ranjan Fernando says, “It is our duty to explain that Jesus loves everybody and has special concern for those in need and to show our love and compassion to these needy families.”
Sri Lanka is a nation that has been ravaged by a brutal civil war that started in the 1980s. The ethnic conflict not only destroyed homes and displaced residents, but stalled economic growth. The war came to an end in May 2009 but in addition to the civil war, the country was also hit by a tsunami in 2004 and massive flooding in 2012. To make things worse, Christians and other religions that were not historically found in Sri Lanka face significant persecution from local Buddhists.
It is safe to say that the country is need of partners and helping hands. Even though Sri Lanka has endured much disaster the beauty of the country continues to shine brightly. From the tropical beaches, to the rolling hills, to the local art/architecture and even to the country’s wildlife, there is something for everyone.