Community Development

2005-2012 – Hiniduma


Indira and James Lee, a Canadian volunteer met in Colombo, took the opportunity to begin the construction process relatively soon after the disaster, giving them more independence in the work progress. Upon her arrival in the country, Indira visited many refugee camps across Sri Lanka in order to assess the facts on the ground: the real needs, the international organizations efforts and the temporary rules introduced by the Sri Lankan Government.

Construction of the community & rehabilitation work

February – July 2005

The first phase of the project lasted six months and started two months after the Tsunami of 2004. A project comprising ten permanent houses and a community center could be implemented on a land generously gifted by the Mahabodhi Buddhist monks society of Sri Lanka. Indira has preferred to work in collaboration with the villagers for reasons of social integration and reduction of costs due to the proximity of the materials needed for construction.

Education, training & empowerment

2006 - 2011

The second phase of the project began in July 2006, with the search of faculty and staff with proven capabilities to start developing the educational structure and courses tailored to the children’s needs living in the region. The community centre which was originally a meeting area has quickly become a learning space with the construction of a library, a sewing workshop and the development of academic courses.

From 2006 to 2011, more than 150 children from nearby villages participated in weekly classes, in order to improve their education level and to increase their chances to access higher education in larger cities. Today, children who are not able to continue with their education because of financial difficulties are provided with scholarships. Our support includes the provision of school fees, extra classes, books, stationery, uniforms and transport where needed.

Autonomy & sustainability

2010 - 2012

The final phase of the project was about ensuring the independence of families and children in the community. Our objective was to maintain the structure in place while empowering children and encouraging to stand on their feet. Indira has always believed that the best way to help people in need was to teach, to impart the knowledge and tools necessary, so that later they could apply them by themselves. She also believes that a project becomes sustainable when it becomes possible to put an end to the assistantship.

During this period, several activities were organized to promote self-management within the community such as the “Leaders”, a group of students which was formed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and “the cultivation and gardening project” aiming at encouraging all families to use their own environment for their daily food.