MEET OUR FAMILIES
Taw Naw Hel and Lway Lway have been residents of Amarillo for over seven years. The family is originally from Thailand where they lived in the Mae La refugee camp for sixteen years due to the war going on in Burma. The family describes their life in a refugee camp as unclean. They dealt with illness, dirty water, a leaking home and extremely small rations of food, including oil and beans every thirty days and rice every fifteen days. The family of 5 lived in a one room home made of bamboo and leaves. The Hel’s dreamt of joining their family in America and after an eight month wait, the family succeeding in achieving their goals. Taw Naw Hel has been employed by Tyson for seven years while his wife stayed home to raise their children.
La Lu and Kay San moved to Amarillo in 2012 after spending 10 years in a refugee camp located in Thailand. Originally from Burma, the couple were forced from their homes as soldiers made claim on their land. The families that fled their villages found refuge in nearby forest regions, often with no food or necessities before making the refugee camp their home.
Fortunately, Kay San’s sister (who is also in the Habitat for Humanity program) was able to make a new life in Amarillo where La Lu and Kay San followed and ultimately decided to settle with their family. The parents of six children have been living in a two-bedroom, one bath apartment in Amarillo. With their son in Utah attending college, the small apartment bedrooms are currently each occupied by three people. The family, has worked over 700 volunteer hours for Habitat.
“My name is Crystal. I am a single parent of three. I have two amazing teenage daughters and custody of my two year old niece. I am a licensed massage therapist and certified medical massage therapist. There was a time in my life that I was homeless while I was pregnant and had a toddler. It was a very hard time for me. That is when I made a personal goal and promise to myself to someday not just have a house but a home of my very own, so that no matter what happened in the life of my children, they would always have a home to go to. Being a single parent and low income family, this goal would not be possible without the help of Amarillo Habitat.”
Sayed Dahab and his wife Rashida came to the United States in seek of refuge after years of oppression from their government in Sudan. Rashida's earliest memories as a child consist of running from village to village, every 3 - 6 months, as the Janjaweed militia burned the homes they lived in, stole their livestock and tried to kill all the men in their homes. The families of the pair arranged for them to be married in 2001, as was customary in their culture, and in 2007, Sayed and Rashida became a family. After continuous struggle, including losing their children, Rashida was approved to join her husband in the United States in 2011. Rashida says that she was very scared to leave her family behind, not knowing anything about America, but knew she wanted to be with her husband wherever life took them.
The couple currently has 3 daughters with a new baby on the way. They claim "the most amazing and exciting things about Habitat are the team work, the way we are treated and that we learned to budget. Whatever we say would not be enough to thank you for all you guys have done with us!"
Joseph and Sung Sung Hau are originally from Myanmar where they faced extreme religious persecution. The government soldiers would burn down their Christian churches, burn their crosses and force civilians to carry 100 pound military loads from village to village. The couple (who had not met at the time) each fled to Malaysia, separately, hoping to find a better life, however, upon arriving they quickly recognized they were not going to find Malaysia to be the safe haven they desperately hoped for. Adults were forced to work 16 hours each day, 7 days a week, earning only $200 USD each month. The police officers regularly stopped civilians, forcing them to hand over their wages leaving nothing for families to support themselves. Joseph was robbed, beaten and stabbed, which resulted in hospitalization for a month where he prayed for survival. The couple met in 2004 and were finally able to find refuge in Houston, TX, in 2007. After hearing that the JBS plant in Amarillo was hiring, the couple settled in the Texas Panhandle.
Although the family were residents of Amarillo for 9 years, Sung Sung says she "never thought they would own their own home, but after many prayers, God opened a door to Habitat for Humanity". The couple began working for their home in January of 2016 and are expected to move in towards the end of 2017. They have completed over 700 volunteer hours to date, and are excited to provide a brand new home for their 3 young children Moses, Robin, and Jennifer.