Dear Habitat Greater Ottawa supporter,

I have lived in Canada for more than 30 years after fleeing the civil war-torn country of Somalia. Unfortunately, the place where I grew up and made memories with my friends and family was no longer safe to live in. It was a difficult decision but as a young teenager, I packed up my things and travelled to Canada on my own.

In 1989, I arrived in Montreal and when I first got here, I knew absolutely no one. Moving to a new 
country without any friends or family was very hard. During stressful or difficult times, there was no one here to comfort me. Once I went to school and started working, I was able to build relationships with classmates and coworkers and then they became the people I relied on to get me through the hard times. The reason I chose to come to Canada was because not only is it incredibly beautiful but it is the best country in the world! The citizens here are so welcoming to newcomers and there are many opportunities for myself to get a job and raise a family in a safe environment.

All donations will be matched up to $10,000
thanks to the generosity of Colonnade BridgePort!

I met my wife Asha in 1997 and we moved to Ottawa to begin our lives together. We were excited to move here because it has a small city feel and we had the ability to get stable jobs working in security and at a daycare. Asha and I have two wonderful children, Hafsa age 18, and Bilal age 21. Our daughter Hafsa is very passionate about art and loves to draw. This fall she will be attending school in Ottawa to become a nurse. Our son Bilal is in university studying biomedical engineering. We are incredibly proud of their hard work and dedication in pursuing school to better their future. 

We currently live in social housing where a significant amount of our household income goes directly toward paying our rent every month. Every year, this amount continues to increase and soon our family will not be able to afford where we are living. The apartment we are in has a lot of mould around the unit, which will affect our health. We are also renting in a very unsafe neighbourhood where we don’t always feel comfortable and in some situations are concerned for our children’s safety.

We felt stuck in our living situation and could never imagine having the ability of buying a home of our own. My cousin came from Somalia and moved to Minnesota, USA. He mentioned that there was a Habitat for Humanity office in his region and suggested to look if there was one here in Ottawa. After doing some research, I discovered that Habitat Greater Ottawa was building in a safe neighbourhood in the east end of Ottawa. My wife and I decided to go through the application process.

Time went by and one day when I was at work, I got our life-changing email from Nancy in the Family Services Department saying we would officially become Habitat homeowners! I called my wife right away to tell her the good news and later that night at dinner, we sat our kids down to tell them that we would be new homeowners at Titus Landing in Wateridge Village. They couldn’t believe it and were ecstatic about our family’s future. My daughter is especially excited about how she is going to decorate her future bedroom. Our children have been more focused in school, our family’s mood as a whole is happier than it used to be and we have something exciting to look forward to.

The reason why we wanted to become Habitat Homeowners is that our dream has always been to own our own home to create family memories in. I think back to my childhood home in Somalia, my family used to have large family celebrations where there was delicious food, good music and family all together enjoying one another’s company. I want to have a home for my family that we can celebrate life events and build memories together. My family would never have had an opportunity to own a home if it was not thanks to your generous donations. I hope you will consider supporting Habitat Greater Ottawa again and help other families in Ottawa like mine.

Right now, we are patiently waiting for some of the COVID-19 restrictions to lift so that we can start volunteering in the ReStore and build site. We are eager to work on our home alongside our future neighbours and volunteers in the community. I think it will be such a unique experience – watching our home be built from the ground up and having the ability to participate in the process.

My family and I want to sincerely thank you for your donations to Habitat Greater Ottawa. Without your generous support, we would have never seen our dream of owning our own home become a reality.

Warmest regards, 

P.S. This summer you can double your impact and help grow the number of families served by Habitat Greater Ottawa in 2021. You can make a donation using the online donation form on this page and automatically receive a tax receipt. Please consider making an impact all year round by becoming a monthly donor. As a Hope Builder you’ll help strengthen our programming and provide ongoing support for families in need of safe, secure and affordable housing. Thank you for your support.

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