Building a village, and hope, in Sri Lanka

Holcim Lanka has launched its fourth sustainable 'Holcim Village' in Akmeemana, Galle, in the south of the island nation of Sri Lanka. The Holcim Village concept is part of Holcim Lanka’s commitment towards its 'triple bottom line' of economic return, social responsibility, and environmental protection.


A sustainable development

Built to be environmentally sustainable as well as socially responsible, the Holcim Village in Galle has been designed to specifically address the needs of the community that surrounds the Ruhunu cement works. The land was donated by the local government, and the design prepared by Prof. Jayasinghe of University of Mortuwa, a pioneer in the field of green building in Sri Lanka. The construction itself is handled by volunteers from the Ruhunu Cement Works, who ranged from the CEO to the workers on the shop floor.

 

 

Housing the homeless

When completed, the project will provide housing for 13 homeless families who have been selected by the local government with assistance from Holcim Lanka. Each family will be provided with a complete housing unit, including electricity, water, and access roads, as well as a social action plan to ensure that they are getting not only a home but a place in a community with a future. To ensure this, the entire process has been carried out under the direction of the Community Advisory Panel (CAP), composed of key community stakeholders, local organizations, and government representatives.

Dilaw Manjula, one of the selected recipients, said “Today is the luckiest day of my life. All of us who have been selected also live like me, with no proper shelter. It’s a dream come true and I am very thankful to Holcim and everyone who is helping to provide shelter for me and my family.”


Commitment to communities

The project in Akmeemana Village builds on the previously built Holcim Villages in Medirigiriya, Eluwankulama and Puttalam. Hon. Gunarathne Weerakon, Minister for Resettlement said, “I am very proud to be a part of this Holcim initiative. Most companies do their CSR for promotional purposes, however Holcim has gone to great lengths to demonstrate their commitment to the communities they operate in, resulting in three other villages.”