“If they relocated me, I’d be dead against it”, Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne

Our effort is to see a slums and shanties free Colombo in year 2020 says the Ministry of Defence.

To be clear about the terms used, a slum is a squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people or a house or building unfit for human habitation. A shanty is a small, crudely built shack.

A search on defence.lk for ‘slum’ yields 59 results to date, whereas ‘shanty’ brings up 39 results. Not a single of the nearly 100 stories on the site looks at the enforced relocation of those in areas like Slave Island and Java Lane, an inherently violent and traumatic process, from the perspectives of actual inhabitants.

Here’s one.

At 27 years old, Sugeeth Kumar is part of a generation of Slave Island’s young entrepreneurs. Tiring of the long hours his previous job at Pizza Hut required, he decided that if he must work so hard, he would do it on his own time and for his own business: vending prawn vadai – a popular Tamil fried food – out of a cart at the Galle Face Green Promenade.

See his story at http://www.movingimages.asia/2011/04/“if-they-relocated-me-i’d-be-dead-against-it”/

Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne, as part of Walkabout: Slave Island. Watch the trailer to this series below, and visit the Moving Images website for more stunning content on Sri Lanka.

“People like us will somehow make a living”, Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne

Our effort is to see a slums and shanties free Colombo in year 2020 says the Ministry of Defence. In doing so, the MoD violently erases those like Nazaruddin.

Nazaruddin speaks with pride about all he has achieved today but assures us that is difficult work, driven forward only by an instinct for survival. “You can’t survive in this place if you can’t make a living” he tells us with all the conviction of first-hand experience. Yet, he is prouder still of his community and his generation – the ones who didn’t have the good fortune of a good education and the opportunities that came with it. Cut from the same tough cloth, they are a people, he says, who will do whatever it takes to ensure their families never have to miss a single meal.

See http://www.movingimages.asia/2011/04/“people-like-us-will-somehow-make-a-living”/
Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne, as part of Walkabout: Slave Island. Watch the trailer to this series below, and visit the Moving Images website for more stunning content on Sri Lanka.


Also read http://groundviews.org/2014/08/08/slums-shanties-or-stories/

“Forced evictions in Colombo: The ugly price of beautification” by CPA

Hard questions for the World Bank in Sri Lanka from Harsha de Silva MP. We have been told the World Bank wasn’t aware of key concerns enumerated in a report by Centre for Policy Alternatives around the social impact of the “beautification” of Colombo. This in turn begs the question as to why an institution that promotes good governance, in this instance unhesitatingly and directly supports practices and policies inimical to it.

CPA’s report can be read here – http://www.cpalanka.org/forced-evictions-in-colombo-the-ugly-price-of-beautification/

source: CPA

“Colombo’s changing cityscape” by Emily Louise Marshall

It would seem the infrastructural improvements, which have primarily been carried out by the military, have taken place in a highly centralized manner with little evidence that the poor are either consulted or are intended as beneficiaries. The planning process has resulted in many of the poorer citizens being relocated, losing their homes or, in many instances their businesses, communities and livelihoods.    This trend is going to continue to play out across Colombo, and indeed Sri Lanka, so whilst preserving history, cultures and communities through documenting changes is imperative, further research and awareness raising is crucial to mitigate the negative impacts on the country’s poorer citizens, and ultimately inform urban development policy.
Read more here.