Candida’s close-knit family of seven has a great attitude towards life, despite a past of incredible hardships. After fleeing their home country of Burundi due to wars and constant danger, they were relocated to a refugee camp in Tanzania. The family suffered from housing insecurity all their lives, until they were granted asylum in the United States three years ago.
Candida’s family has been living in Knoxville for three years and enjoy the Knoxville area. Her son, Bernard, said that his favorite part of living in this area is the weather, which is similar to Burundi’s climate (except when it’s snowy).
While their schedules often conflict, the family enjoys spending time together at every available opportunity. Since Candida and her daughter, Emmanueline, both work night shift, they usually meet as a family for lunch to spend valued quality time together. They look forward to having a beautiful yard that they can enjoy during their lunchtime together.
Having a safe, stable home will allow the family to invest in education and pursue opportunities that they would not have been able to otherwise. Louise, 19, aspires graduating college before going on to law school. Zabloni, 22, is attending college classes and also learning to budget through the Knoxville Habitat homeowner education program. Candida’s two youngest sons, ages 8 and 14, will have their older siblings to inspire and encourage them to pursue higher education and work hard to achieve what they want in life.
The family is excited to be moving from a crowded apartment into their safe, affordable home. Zabloni expresses that he cannot wait “to have a house to call our own.” Bernard plans to attend the Knoxville Habitat homeowner classes to learn the basics of home care. He says that he will take pride in being able to fix things around the house for his family instead of calling a maintenance supervisor, as they have with apartment living.
Candida and her children remain dedicated to their shared goal. Candida is working towards completing her 500 hours of “sweat equity” and her family will raise the walls of their home alongside volunteers. Candida will then pay an affordable, no-interest mortgage that will go towards building more homes for families in need of decent housing.