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HFH Sri Lanka To Build 100 Homes In War-Torn North-East In Partnership With International Indian Film Academy

Habitat Goodwill Ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez, Indian Actor Salman Khan Launch Project In Ja-Ela Village

COLOMBO, 15th June 2010: Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka will partner with the International Indian Film Academy to build 100 homes for people displaced by decades of conflict in a village in Vavuniya district, northeast Sri Lanka.

The partnership was unveiled at the 11th IIFA awards gala held recently in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

 

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Indian actor Salman Khan and HFH Sri Lanka goodwill ambassador and India-based actress Jacqueline Fernandez mixing cement in a village in Ja-Ela. The duo’s visit marked the launch of a 100-house partnership between HFH Sri Lanka and International Indian Film Academy.

 

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Led by Sri Lanka’s national cricket team captain Kumara Sangakkara (left), the professional cricketers won the match against combined teams of Sri Lankan cricketers and Indian celebrities.

IIFA chose HFH Sri Lanka as one of its two beneficiaries – the other being UNICEF Sri Lanka – to symbolize the peace and reconciliation process after the end of almost three decades of civil strife in the island nation.

To launch the project, HFH Sri Lanka’s goodwill ambassador and India-based actress Jacqueline Fernandez and Indian actor Salman Khan led a convoy of media representatives to a village in Ja-Ela, north of the capital Colombo. Khan, whom IIFA named as its ambassador for its charity initiative with Habitat, and Fernandez mixed and poured cement for the floor of a Habitat house under construction. Their effort symbolized the building of homes in northeast Sri Lanka.

Quoted in Indian newspaper Deccan Herald, Khan said: “Many people lost their lives or have been displaced due to war, and constructing 100 homes is a commendable and a good start.”

The three-day IIFA awards gala included a fashion show in Colombo on 4th June featuring collections from Indian designers Manish Malhotra and Vikram Phadnis and their Sri Lankan counterparts Yoland and Kanchana (KT Brown).

In addition, a charity cricket match was also held at the Sinhalese Sports Club in the capital. The match pitted professional cricketers against two teams each comprising both Sri Lankan cricketers and Indian celebrities. The team led by the captain of Sri Lanka’s national cricket team Kumara Sangakkara won the matches against two teams captained by Indian actors Hrithik Roshan and Sunil Shetty. Funds raised from the match were to be split equally between HFH Sri Lanka and UNICEF.

After the match, Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardena said: “I was thrilled and honored to take the field with such iconic film stars and thank them for coming to our country. I am pleased that they had to play cricket rather than us having to sing and dance! It was a spectacular occasion, graced by so many fans. We are all humbled to think that some of the proceeds of this match will be going to build houses for those in need and thank Habitat for Humanity for their involvement.”

At least 100 Indian stars attended the awards ceremony held on 5th June at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo. They included well-known names such as Bipasha Basu, Kareena Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt. Jacqueline Fernandez received a best debutante award for her debut Bollywood movieAladin. She was among several celebrities from India and Sri Lanka who volunteered with Habitat in the 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.