Tina and her husband, Doua, will partner with our Interfaith Build members to build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter for their four children this summer. Tina shares with us their journey:
“My name is Tina. I was born and raised in Thailand until the age of 8 when my family came to the United States. I have 5 younger brothers. With our family size growing up, I was never able to have my own room, even though I was the only daughter. My parents just couldn’t afford a house for that. My husband Doua came to the United States when he was 14 years old. He is the second oldest child, but the oldest son with 6 younger siblings. His family of 10 was living in a 2 bedroom duplex with one bathroom. All 8 kids slept in one room with the parents in the other.
When we got married, we were determined to make it one of our life goals to one day be able to save enough to either build or buy a home so our kids can have the luxury of having their own rooms. We are currently in a 2 bedroom duplex with one bathroom. With the four kids, Christopher, Tiana, Alex and baby JaLiyah, it’s hard but we accommodate the best we can. Tiana and Christopher share a room while the younger two sleep in the same room as my husband and I.
We know that buying a home will not be easy and will cost a lot of money. Instead of finding a house to rent where there will be enough room for all of us, we decided to save our money continuing to rent in a smaller apartment to save the money up to buy a house.
And so the journey begins. I remember it was the fall of 2014 and I was standing in line with my grandmother at the Goodwill and Partnership Community Health Center, waiting to get our shares of food that was being passed out when a senior crew volunteer walked up to us and handed me a brochure. It read, “Habitat for Humanity.” He gave us a quick summary of the program and allowed me to ask a few questions before moving on. Just like many others, I thought to myself “we may never qualify for this!” I took the brochure home and set it on top of my cluttered corner table with all of my other ‘to look at later’ piles. Eventually, I threw it out.
It was probably 4-5 months later when I finally searched Habitat for Humanity on the internet. My husband had come home several times and shared with me what his coworkers had been saying about Habitat and their amazing programs. I figured if we didn’t try, we would never know. The worst that could happen is we didn’t qualify for the program. I looked up the phone number and we ended up attending an application meeting. We filled out the paperwork and waited.
I was at work when I received the call. We got APPROVED! I was so happy, I texted my husband right after I got off the phone. The kids were so excited! Especially after finding out how many bedrooms we qualified for! They started making plans and writing down what they would want or need in their rooms. They talked about who would sleep where, which floor, and how they would decorate their room. It was such a blessing to see those big smiles on their faces. Tiana even decided to give up buying a new bike this year, instead she wants to save that money to buy things she wants for her new room.
God is amazing! He really does hear our prayers. He works miracles in ways that we do not think of. This journey will not be easy, but we know it will be worth it and we are ready for it. If it was not for Habitat for Humanity, we would not have this hope, this dream that will be coming true. If not for them, my husband and I may never know when we would have been able to save enough money to make this dream a reality for our kids. Thanks to Habitat for Humanity, we will be able to meet this goal. It is our honor to work alongside them and be part of the Habitat family!”
Thank you so much,
Tina, Doua & Family