Janvier and Ajuwaye Majambere first immigrated to the United States as refugees, each along with their parents, in 2007. When they arrived in Knoxville, they did not know if they would be welcomed by the community or if it was even a safe city.
They didn’t get to choose Knoxville as their new home community – Knoxville was chosen for them as part of their 12-year process of applications and immigration procedures. Having first met while living in refugee camps in Tanzania, Janvier and Ajuwaye became reacquainted after their settlements in Knoxville.
They were soon married and began a family of their own, excited to establish roots in their newly-adopted hometown.
Fast-forward eleven years, and they are the proud parents of six children ranging in age from twelve months to 10 years. Like all mothers, Ajuwaye gets by with little sleep, but this is complicated with her third shift job at an auto parts plant.
Janvier puts in long hours at his daytime job, but they are glad they were able to find jobs that allowed one of them to always be home with the children.
The Majambere family currently lives in a basement three-bedroom apartment. Janvier says it is small, and there isn’t enough room for her children to play. Janvier is concerned about the safety of the apartment. He explained that this basement home has small windows that are not large enough for his family of eight to escape through in case of an emergency.
The Majambere’s living situation is typical for most Habitat partner families. There are not a lot of affordable housing options in Knoxville, and the tradeoff is typically living someplace that isn’t safe or has health hazards, such as mold or mildew.
A family friend first suggested to Janvier that he apply to Knoxville Habitat for Humanity, and he and Ajuwaye quickly saw this opportunity as a path towards a brighter future for their family. Since being accepted into the Knoxville Habitat program, the Majamberes have been attending weekly budget classes and participating in other classes to help them become successful homeowners.
Janvier is excited about the prospect of having a home for his family. He’s looking forward to having more room and saving money on rent while paying an affordable mortgage. They are planning to bank the savings to help their children go to college. Janvier also dreams of going back to school, too, to study nursing and is currently working for a medical clinic and completed training in medical technology.
The children are excited about a having a real home, too, and Janvier confidently spoke that their new home will be, “a place to raise our children, in a good way.”