|Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Scout Build’ to Empower Young Leaders in Sri Lanka|
The Scout Build is an extension of the global partnership between Habitat for Humanity International and the World Scout Movement. A Memorandum of Understanding between HFHSL and SLSA was ceremoniously signed by Dr. Dinesh Kanagaratnam, National Director of HFHSL and Mr. Janaprith Fernando, Attorney-at-Law and Deputy Chief Commissioner of SLSA, in celebration of World Scout Day and founder, Lord Baden Powell's 160th Birth Anniversary globally celebrated on the 22nd of February 2017.
This volunteer build initiative in partnership with SLSA enabled volunteers to contribute their time and unskilled labour towards the construction of nearly 40 houses currently being constructed in Aranayake for victims of landslides - part of HFHSL's Kegalle Housing Project. (A Disaster Response project aimed at building more than 80 houses for victims of landslides caused by Cyclone Roanu last May in Aranayake, Yatiyatota and Deraniyagala in the Kegalle District).
Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka's National Director, Dr. Dinesh Kanagaratnam said, "The Scouts Build is one of the many initiatives we will roll out this year that will help develop and build leadership amongst the youth in Sri Lanka. Scouting Associations across Asia are seeking stronger links with Habitat for Humanity under the Messengers of Peace vision. We believe the collective strengths and vision of both organizations – the Scouting principles around 'service to others' and Habitat's vision of 'a world where everyone has a decent place to live' – can make a dramatic impact in building houses, building hope, and building communities".
Sharing his volunteer experience at the Scout Build in Aranayake, Piyumal Madushanka Jayatissa (18) commented, "This was a life changing two-day experience. I have never had the opportunity to be part of such a unique project where we can contribute our time, energy and unskilled labour to build a home for someone in need. To me, this is what it truly means to be a Scout –to be of service to others – and I hope I will have more opportunities to volunteer in the future".
Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka hopes to take this partnership with the World Scout Movement further by exploring the possibility of hosting an International Scout Build in 2018/2019 where international Scout volunteer teams will also be invited to volunteer in Sri Lanka.