“Now I have a house,” says 70-year-old Rohani as she receives her house certificate from Oxfam’s Gladys Inzofu. Credit: Olenka Priyadarsani/Oxfam
This is a very important day in the village of Babah Ie, near Lamno, in the tsunami-hit Indonesian province of Aceh.
Twenty families are waiting to receive their house certificate. Rohani, a 70-year-old widow, has a broad smile on her face and is very moved by this ceremony.
“Now, I have a house,” she says. Many women in Aceh are still struggling to achieve the right to own and inherit land, so for a woman to have her name on a property title is hugely significant.
One by one, the Keuchik, or village head, of Babah Ie, Zuljani, calls the names of those receiving a house, while Gladys Inzofu, Oxfam Deputy Project Manager, and Ainy Fauziyah, Oxfam Shelter Coordinator, hand over the housing certificates.
The faces of the house owners brighten up as the Keuchik calls their names. For women like Rohani and her 28-year-old daughter Ipah Zora, who also received a house, this was the first time their name had featured on a house certificate and they felt understandably proud.
Providing a safety net
“Usually it is only the husband’s name that features on a certificate. This move constitutes an important step. It provides a safety net for women and allows them to take control of their future and prevent inheritance disputes,” said Ainy.
Seventy-four families lost their land to the tsunami in Babah Ie. Working with the villagers, Oxfam lobbied landowners and local authorities to help them acquire the land they needed to build their new homes.
Zainab is proud of her small store, which was made possible by a cash grant from Oxfam. “Now we can be independent,” she says. Credit: Hilman Agung/Oxfam
“We moved here two months ago,” says Zainab, 33, who takes care of a small corner shop in Babah Ie when her husband is away. “Our life now is pretty good. We asked for help from Oxfam at that time and we have been assisted. With this little assistance, I hope I can develop this business. We cannot continue to be dependent forever”.
Oxfam has completed the construction of a school and 20 houses in the village, and in partnership with the NGO Community Housing Facility (CHF) another 30 houses are being built.
Oxfam has also helping people to get back on their feet and set up their own businesses. Cash grants have been provided to a group of 12 women to help them open a coffee shop or invest in livestock farming. Twenty farmers received seeds, fertilizer and tools to improve the production of their peanut harvest, while more than 20 family wells and toilets have been built.
Delivering on promises
Life in Babah Ie has improved, and this has been replicated in many of the communities in the Lamno area.
Oxfam was the first NGO to respond to the immediate needs of the communities in Lamno and Aceh Jaya. More than two years on, Oxfam has delivered on the promises it made and goals its set when it engaged with these communities in early January 2005.
Lamno is now resilient and strong enough to take its future in its own hands. Oxfam has therefore taken the decision to complete its projects, hand them over to the communities and close its office there.
Since it arrived in Lamno, Oxfam has helped more than 11,000 people with a wide range of assistance. This has included building over 150 houses, two community centers, five bridges and eight kilometers of road; building or rehabilitating more than 700 wells and 500 toilets; training 400 community health volunteers; and distributing over 1,200 cash grants to help people start up new businesses.