Vang Family

Vang Family (6)My family and I are overjoyed and blessed to have been accepted to the Habitat for Humanity of Dane County program.  The moment we received the wonderful news that we were accepted into the program, we were so happy to finally have a place to call home. Some of us were thrilled and some of us were in shock and thought this was just a dream. Thanks to Habitat, our dreams and hopes of having a home are becoming true.

My husband, Vang Ge, and I started our family in Thailand with practically nothing to begin with as we were orphans. The first few years of our marriage we had lived with my husband’s relatives and had no parents to lean on when we needed a shoulder the most. As a parent, I would not want my children to have the same experience as my husband and I of not having a home. After many years of working and saving we managed to move out and live on our own. On Sept. 9, 2004, we immigrated to the United States. We have always dreamed of having a home that we can build family memories.

Even though my two oldest daughters will not be able to build their memories with our new home as they are now married; I am grateful my six younger children will have a chance to cherish every moment in our new home. Not only am I excited for the new home but so are my children. Each one has already discussed about what he or she will do with his or her room. My two sons loves to play with action figures and love the outdoors. As for my four daughters, they love music and love to sing. They are overjoyed to build memories in their new home.

Thanks again to the Habitat for Humanity of Dane County and to American Family Insurance for sponsoring our family and making our dreams come true. Thinking about our new home brings us to tears and excitement.

Vang Vang and Kham Savapanlan

Rachel Turner

Turner Family (640x426) (300x249)My name is Rachel, and I am a mother of a little boy named Cameron. He is the reason I applied to Habitat. Growing up as a child, I lived in three different states. I could never call one place my real home. To give my child that opportunity to have a home is great. I want to give him something that I didn’t have as a child. To be part of Habitat and the volunteers that will help me build a home for my family is an amazing blessing for us. This is a huge dream come true.

The day I received the call from the Family Services Director, I was at work. I was so excited that I had to take a break. I ran to my car and cried and screamed.

To include my son in this process, I come home and show him pictures or discuss with him what we went over in the meetings. I look forward to building new and better memories with my son in our new home, not to mention getting a basketball hoop so I can finally teach him that mom can really play basketball.

Cameron is a very little energetic little boy, he loves to play his Xbox, being outside and basketball. One of the things we enjoy doing together is going to the movies and walking outside. He is truly God’s blessing from above. He keeps me on my toes always.

As for me, I am a very hard working young lady.  I love learning new things and overcoming challenges. We are very lucky and thankful for this opportunity. I look forward to learning about the ins and outs of building our first home and getting to know the people involved in the building process.

Thank you Habitat for Humanity and all the volunteers for all your help. We look forward to getting to know each and every one of you and making you a part of our family.

P.S.  “I hope we have a beautiful, beautiful backyard so I can play basketball and soccer.” – Cameron

Dolma Family

Sonam Dolma

My name is Sonam Dolma. I was born in 1959. Although I am Tibetan, I was born in India. Because of the Chinese invasion, my parents escaped from Tibet. When I was seven-years-old, my mother passed away in a car accident. My dad was left to take care of me and my three siblings. When I was 16, my dad passed away due to illness. My grandma and aunt too care of us after my parents died.

Time had passed and I got married. A few years into my marriage I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy we named Palden. Life in India was really hard. Growing up as a refugee and the living conditions were always rough. One day, I got the opportunity to come to America. It was a hard decision because I didn’t want to leave my son who was one-year-old. After support from family and friends, I decided it was best to go. In 1993, I came to America. I lived with four roommates in order to save money. In the beginning of 1994, I visited India and got pregnant with my second child. Returning back to America, I worked two jobs. Even though I was pregnant, I often worked extra hours in order to afford to bring my family to America. Because of the strict immigration policies, it took me five years to bring them here. In 1998, my older son and my husband finally came to America. Ever since my husband came to America, our marriage became harder and harder. The situation became so serious that I took my boys and left home. With a social worker’s help, I found a woman’s shelter.

After three months, the social worker found us a low income place to live and we were finally able to move out of the shelter. This was when I became a single mother with two young boys. The hardest part about raising kids in America was dealing with my background and language problems. Compared to India, America has a completely different culture, language and way of life. On top of that, I had no family for support. I felt like I started a new life again. Without our low-income place to live, we probably would not have survived. We have been living here for 15 years and are grateful. Our dream was always to have our own place. We never thought it was possible until we found Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. After we were accepted, we felt there was still hope. My boys are everything to me and nothing would make me happier than to get a home that they always dreamed of having.

The Lee-Her Family

Steven Lee and Pa Her (260x230)This is the story of my life.

I was born in Laos. When I was about 1-year old my parents and I left Laos. My family left Laos to Thailand because my father supported the United States during the Vietnam War. After the US left Vietnam in 1975, the communist Laotian and the communist Vietnamese came searching for those who had helped the US during the Vietnam War to take them prisoner. My family couldn’t stay in Laos anymore because of my father’s support of the United States, so we ran to Thailand in 1982. With little we had in Thailand we did what we could do to survive. We all tried to find odd jobs here and there just to feed our family and had little time for education. In 2002, I married my wife in Thailand. Afterwards, on Sept. 3, 2004 my wife and I came to the United States.

Today there are five people in my family. I have three sons, the oldest is a 6th grader, the next son is a 3rd grader and the youngest son is three so he stays home with his mother. My niece also lives with me. She goes to Madison East High School.

When I first came to America I saw that there were so many people who had good jobs and houses. This made me sad because I didn’t have a house to call mine. I was uneducated and I didn’t speak a word of English, how was I to find a job to support my family? This made me really sad. But today, Habitat for Humanity has given me an opportunity of a lifetime. When I heard that my family received a home offer, we were so excited. I told my kids not to worry any longer because we will have a house to call our own. We encouraged our kids to work hard in school and always remember to help others as they will help you.

In the end I want to thank Habitat for Humanity, the donors, sponsor and volunteers for their time. Without them my family and I will not be receiving this home.

Thank you again. Steven Lee & Pa Ha Her

The Miller Family

Hi, first of all, I’m very happy to be one of Habitat for Humanity’s participants. I was born in Iraq in the beginning of the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. I spent all my childhood moving from town to town with my family, running away from the war because we were living close to the border where most of the military operations took place.

My family is very small. I didn’t see my father because he died when I was only five months old in a war related accident. So, my mother took a huge responsibility to support the family through those difficult years. After the war, the whole country went through a harsh economic embargo that imposed on the dictatorship regime for more than 13 years because of the invasion of Kuwait. The embargo made the majority of the population live under severe poverty.

Through those years, I managed to finish my education. In my last year of school, the US-Iraq war took place again in 2003. This led to a dramatic change in the country’s social and cultural situation. Iraq went through a severe civil war among its different religious and ethnic groups. As a result there was millions of families displaced internally in addition to millions of families who returned to their home after 2003.

Therefore, in 2004, I started working with an American humanitarian organization in Iraq to help refugees and vulnerable minorities in different areas. I was conducting different case management processes to help those families with their basic needs (food, water, shelter health and education). Our job required us to enter some really dangerous towns and villages that considered as hot zones for many people. We managed to rescue and assist thousands of families over the six years I was working there.

The Iraq civil war was a very dirty one. Unfortunately, during wars, some groups don’t differentiate between militants and humanitarian workers. With the increase of turmoil in the area we were working in, some militant groups started targeting the aid workers. In 2007, two of our employees were kidnapped and we didn’t hear anything about them for weeks. This led to minimize our operation in some areas, but the security situation was still getting worse. Unknown messages were received by our organization that employees will be their next target. This had put us in a great danger. I didn’t feel safe there anymore, especially I was going into different areas and many people recognized me. I started to feel serious fears about my life there, that’s why I came to United States. This is my travel story.

Unfortunately my family is still stuck in Iraq, and I hope I can bring them here soon. With the help of Habitat for Humanity and the great volunteers in the area, I feel a lot safer here and I’m working hard to build this home so in case (hopefully) my family comes here, they would have a place to stay in.

I can’t thank Habitat and the volunteers enough for all the support and passion they have been showing to me and to other families. People like these are making the real changes in this life, because they are touching the hearts and treating the wounds.

God bless you all.

Vasquez-Nieto Family

Vasquez-Martinez-nieto-quevora (3) (260x220)Hello everyone and thanks to all of you, especially to God, who made it possible for us to begin a new stage in our lives and see our dreams realized. We are Alberto and Maria and we have two sons, Jaison (15) and Nicolas (7).

Maria and I want for our children a stable place for them to live and be able to provide them a better future. What we enjoy most is sharing with family is dinner, because this is the time where we can feel the familiar warmth with my family. I, Alberto, also enjoy cooking dinner for them.

I work hard in a landscape company here in Madison. In my spare time I work on my community garden, bicycle with my wife and play with my kids.

We enjoy spending time with our children. I also enjoy music, dancing and enjoy nature. Our son, Jaison, likes to practice, soccer/football and I think he is a good player. Our son, Nicolas, likes to practice English, playing with friends after school, and he also is interested in learning to play a musical instrument. He practices with drums and keyboard.

I believe and have faith in my family and with the mercy of God and the help of the volunteers we can achieve our goal of having our own home. A special gratitude to Habitat for Humanity of Dane County for giving us this opportunity.