June is National Homeownership Month, so HFHC is honoring Habitat Homeowners by telling their stories! See how being a homeowner has impacted Tesfay and Zaid’s life:

It has been a long, hard-fought path to citizenship and homeownership  Tesfay, Zaid, and their four children. They were refugees originally from Eritrea, Africa. Zaid and the children were forced to move from their home country to the safety of camp in Ethiopia for years while they pursued their visas to come to America. Tesfay was in Israel for much of that time they endured long periods of separation through the process. Zaid and the children were finally granted their visas and bravely ventured to a new world in 2009, with the hope that Tesfay would soon be able to join them. The family was finally reunited 3 years later in the United States in 2012.

Working hard to provide for his family, Tesfay has been working at JBS 5-6 days a week for over 5 years. JBS is a processor of beef, pork and lamb headquartered in Greeley, CO. Even working overtime, they were only able to afford a modest place. Prior to building and purchasing their Habitat home, the family of six people lived in a small two bedroom apartment.  Two brothers slept in one bed, and their sister slept in an adjacent bed.  Mother and Father shared a bedroom with their youngest daughter who slept in her small toddler bed. There was little privacy and no room for school studies, but they were happy to be together as a family again.

In pursuit of stability, the family was able to apply to become homeowners through Habitat for Humanity.  Through hard work, Tesfay and Zaid took turns building their home alongside volunteers. Even the oldest son, was able to help contribute “sweat equity” to help build their family home. The family purchased and moved into their new 5 bedroom Habitat home last month!

May was certainly a month of celebration for the family. Not only did they close on their home, but the oldest son graduated from Early College Academy High School. Following his parent’s example of hard work and determination, he worked hard to learn English and thrive in a new country and school system. At Early College Academy Samson was able to earn not only his High School Diploma but also complete college-level classes through a partnership with AIMS Community College. He graduated from high school also with an Associates of Arts degree. Next fall he will be attending the University of Northern Colorado studying Business with an emphasis in Marketing.  As the first in his family to not only graduate from high school, but also attend college, his parents are overcome with pride. He plans to live at home, which is just blocks from the UNC campus.

“Now in our new home, I have my own room which gives me privacy and a quiet place to study. Before, we were crowded in a tiny apartment. It was hard to find a place to focus on my studies with my brothers and sister playing. Now, it is perfectly peaceful and I can even have ‘me time’. I am excited for the opportunity to advance my education, which I know will bring me more opportunities for a bright future.”

Because of their hard work and determination, Tesfay and Zaid have truly achieved their American Dream. Reunited and with hope for their children’s future, each day they wake up in the safety and freedom of their own home, they are filled with deep-rooted gratitude.