BENEFITING: Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity
Niyungeko and Bushatsi fled to America as refugees with their young son eight years ago. Witnessing horrific, violent acts by their government, in some cases, to friends and loved ones, they knew they had to leave their home country of Burundi and provide a better life for their children. Armed with nothing more than a few belongings, the Canesius family arrived in New York and were quickly assigned a place to live in Richmond, VA.
Since moving here, the Canesius family has truly strived to make Richmond their new home. Now parents to two children, their son and a younger daughter, Niyungeko and Bushatsi work hard to provide a safe, happy and worry free life. Niyungeko works at a local retailer helping with customer service, while Bushatsi works full-time for Richmond Public Schools as a cafeteria cook.
Their current dream is to provide their children with a safer, healthier place to grow up. Currently, they live in a very small apartment with a lot of crime. So much crime, that recently their neighbor was found murdered in the apartment next door.
One day while attending a refugee support group meeting in Fredericksburg, Bushatsi spoke to a friend about the Habitat for Humanity program. Her friend had just been accepted into the program, and highly recommended it for Bushatsi’s family. Shortly after, the Canesius family walked into the Richmond Habitat office, applied and were accepted into the program.
Through Richmond Habitat’s homeownership program, the Canesius Family will purchase a safe, healthy home and pay an affordable, zero percent interest mortgage, making the dream of homeownership a reality for them and their children. Currently, they are completing 10 financial and homeownership education classes and attending monthly one-on-one budgeting sessions to make sure they have the tools they need to be successful homeowners. They are also working to complete 350 hours of “sweat equity”, or volunteer time, helping to build homes and working at our ReStore.
The family cannot wait to move into their beautiful new home in 2016, a home that will help to give them the peace, safety and tranquility they’ve never experienced before.