Furthering its mission to serve as a partner in progress to all Sri Lankans, Hatton National Bank’s Islamic Banking arm, HNB Al-Najah entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka (HFHSL) to launch the ‘Drops of Life Project’ for the year of 2018.
Targeting the improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene standards in the Batticaloa district, ‘Drops of Life’ is a project aligned with UN Sustainable Development goals aimed at providing disadvantaged and marginalized communities with access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, leveraging on the extensive expertise of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka.
Commenting on the significance of the new partnership with Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka, HNB Chief Operating Officer, Dilshan Rodrigo said: “HNB is a bank that prides itself on our ability to serve as a partner in progress to Sri Lankans from all walks of life and the agreement with Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka represents another vital milestone in this journey.”
“In that regard, we are deeply satisfied to have partnered with an organisation of the stature of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka. The remarkable work that they have carried out as part of their mission to provide decent and secure homes for Sri Lanka’s often overlooked rural communities is strongly aligned both with our own mission to build a sustainable future for all Sri Lankans, and with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and we look forward to building on this invaluable relationship moving forward,” he noted.
The Project is intended to construct 03 latrines for a primary school named Ameer Ali Vidyalaya in Kattankudy and donate 50 water tanks – each with an individual capacity of 500 litres - for 50 low-income families residing in the Divisional Secretariat of Kattankudy in Batticaloa, for which HNB Al Najah will donate Rs. 1 million, while the company’s employees will also be volunteering their time and effort towards completion of this vital initiative.
Echoing Rodrigo’s sentiments, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka National Director, Yu Hwa Li expressed his gratitude to HNB for its enthusiastic response to the Drops of Life Initiative. “At the outset, we wish to thank HNB and its Islamic Banking team for supporting us in this vital project. Habitat for Humanity has been operating in Sri Lanka for the past 23 years, and during this time we have been able to construct affordable housing for communities in the North and East, as well in flood prone regions in the Kalutara district utilizing funding from the European Union, and Indian Government, together with generous donations from corporate donors like HNB Al Najah”.
“Our approach is however somewhat unique in that we invite all who are willing to not only contribute their money but also their time towards building housing, water, and sanitation across Sri Lanka’s underserved communities. Today’s agreement to provide water, sanitation and hygiene solutions is a vitally important aspect of these projects and we are confident that today’s agreement with HNB will mark the start of and long a fruitful relationship”.
According to the most recent research conducted by UNICEF, 11% of Sri Lankans on average today still lack access to safe drinking water, while in rural communities, this figure averages as much as 35%. Similarly, 19% of Sri Lankan schools were found to lack safe water and adequate sanitation facilities while 1,299 schools were found to have no functional sanitation facilities whatsoever.
“While Sri Lanka continues to make remarkable progress in its development, there are still significant gaps that must be addressed in order to fulfil our duty towards our fellow citizens. Building adequate water, sanitation, education and housing facilities are perhaps some of the single most urgent areas in need of attention in order to drive meaningful quality of life improvements, particularly among rural communities”.
“In that regard, our team at HNB Al Najah is eager to contribute towards a solution for all. Together with our initiatives aimed at supporting entrepreneurship through the delivery of reliable and responsible Islamic banking products we are confident that our team working in concert with HNB and Habitat for Humanity can help uplift standards of living in the Batticaloa District, and across the island moving forward.” HNB Assistant General Manager Islamic Banking, Hisham Ally stated.
Parallel to construction of toilets and installation of water tanks, the project will also include awareness building programmes among children in the Kattankudy region with regard to the importance of consuming clean drinking water and sustaining adequate sanitation as well as instructions on maintaining personal and public hygiene.
Established in 1994, Habitat Sri Lanka has enabled more than 24,600 low-income families to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. Habitat for Humanity partners with people in communities all over the world, to help them build or improve a place they can call home.
The HNB Islamic Banking is powered by the core banking system of HNB, which helps to maintain swift and customer friendly service delivery. Furthermore, the service is complete with Al Najah branded cheque books and savings books as well as premium banking facilities. Through Al Najah, customers can enjoy benefits such as internet and SMS banking facilities, international debit cards, and access to 460+ ATMs across the country. All of this is coupled with a dedicated service team to provide a personalised, efficient and friendly experience to all of its customers.