P. N. Singham

Ashoka Fellow
Vavuniya, Sri Lanka
Fellow Since 2004


This profile was prepared when P. N. Singham was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Singham is integrating displaced people back into Sri Lankan society by empowering them to start new lives and teaching host communities to welcome them as assets. Through his organization Social, Economical and Environmental Developers, or SEED, Singham finds land and housing for refugees in existing neighborhoods, and provides them with a comprehensive support structure to help them put down roots. Both refugees and the host communities participate in the process, learning to respect each other and breaking the down caste, ethnic, and religious prejudices that have underpinned Sri Lanka’s ongoing civil conflict. By focusing on the most vulnerable members of the internally displaced camps for resettlement, Singham is also challenging a welfare-based aid system that views the poorest, the least-educated, and the disabled as the least-eligible for rehabilitation.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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