We’re back with another edition of Good News Tues to spread a little joy from our Habitat family to yours. We’re all in this together. Here’s hoping this brings a little light to your day.
From Refugee Shelters to Habitat Homeownership
No matter the background, becoming a first-time homeowner is a monumental achievement in one’s life. For Bler and Ku, however, the path to a safe, stable home came with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Bler, like more than 1 million others, fled his home country of Myanmar due to what’s been called the world’s longest running civil war.
Escaping atrocities that’ve been described as ethnic cleansing in his home country, this day in Milwaukee’s Midtown neighborhood was the culmination of years of hope, determination and strong will. A celebration of a new generation in their family: one of safety, stability and peace.
Forced to leave everything behind, Bler sought shelter in a Thai refugee camp, a place he’d call home for 13 years. It was there where he met his partner Ku, who was born in the camps. They described harsh living conditions and constantly having to rebuild their shelters. However, Ku noted that she had it better than her parents did.
“Our parents had to flee murder and burning villages,” she says.
After finally being granted entry into the United States, Bler found employment at Family Home Health Care and Fedex, while Ku is raising their two young boys Wahlaweh (3 years) and Wahkpulu (1 year). Their family of four and relatives, another family of four, had been renting a four-bedroom, one bath property in the city.
Thanks to support from Thrivent and the local faith community, Bler and Ku were able to afford to build a brand new Habitat home in Milwaukee’s Midtown neighborhood. Bler and Ku helped build their home alongside Thrivent Faith Build volunteers and, like all Habitat homeowners, pay an affordable mortgage.
Last week, volunteers and supporters joined a car parade to celebrate the family closing on their four-bedroom home. While Habitat typically holds dedication ceremonies, we adapted to hold this socially distanced celebration for the family. As cars passed by, dropping off gifts, honking, and sharing words of encouragement out their windows, Bler and Ku stood proudly on their new front porch waving with their two boys. They’d overcome it all to build a foundation for a new chapter. One where their children will know the safety and stability of this Habitat home.