Barabwiriza and Pamphila are the proud parents of seven children that have overcome so much to be where they are today. Their story starts in the African country of Burundi. This land-locked country is known for its history of violent civil wars and conflicts that have displaced hundreds of thousands of citizens. Barabwiriza and Pamphila first fled from danger in Burundi to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They spent a short time there before eventually relocating again to a refugee camp in Tanzania. While living in the camp, the family suffered many hardships, from hunger to tensions with local Tanzanians.
All of their children except for the youngest, Christina (2), were born in the chaos and uncertainty of the refugee camp. Before coming to the United States of America in 2015, they had never experienced a safe, stable life. Each of these children are now thankful to be in the USA and include Jackite (24), Issac (18), Olepa (16), Somaniro (14), Abedi (12) and Michael (6).
Now that they are discovering a newfound life of peace and stability, the family can better enjoy their time together. Even with so many busy schedules, they make sure to have dinner as a family every night. They also enjoy talking about their day to one another another and praying together as a family.
Even though both Barabwiriza and Pamphila work full-time jobs, they would never have been able to qualify for a conventional mortgage to buy a home for their family. With the resources and partnerships provided by Knoxville Habitat, they were able to find their path to homeownership.
This family currently lives in a cramped, four-bedroom apartment with high rent. While the family is thankful for the opportunities they have, they are extremely excited to be moving into their very own home with more room for everyone. They look forward to investing into something they own and being able to take care of their home.
With the information she has learned during her budgeting classes, Pamphila believes that she is prepared for her next step as a homeowner. As Barabwiriza and Pamphila accomplish their 500 hours of sweat equity through the Knoxville Habitat homeownership education program, they are now ready to build their home and begin this next chapter of their lives.
While their story may have started with strife and conflict, they are happy to be achieving the American Dream and are so appreciative of all the support they are receiving from the Knoxville Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors and supporters.