From Bamboo to Brick: Home Ownership Is Now Reality
Just two years ago, Bal and Meena Rai from Bhutan never envisioned that home ownership would be in their future, much less home ownership in the United States. When resettlement of Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal began in 2008, the Rai family was lucky to be approved for resettlement in the US. Now, largely due to the fortuitous scheduling of a Home Buyers workshop offered by the IRC in Abilene, they moved into their own home in February, 2010.
After almost 17 years of living in a bamboo hut in a refugee camp in Nepal, the Rai family resettled in Abilene, Texas, in June, 2008, with the help of International Rescue Committee in Abilene. Bal and Meena were accompanied by their two sons – now 9 and 19 years of age. Their 21 year old daughter still in Nepal hopes to join them in the near future. With assistance from the IRC in Abilene, Bal secured employment almost immediately upon arrival in Abilene with a local business which manufactures custom windows. Shortly thereafter, Meena gained employment with a large, locally owned hotel. Both continue to work for their original employer.
In October, 2009, Bal and Meena heard about a Home Buyers workshop that was being offered by the IRC in Abilene. The family attended the workshop and heard a local realtor and mortgage loan officer explain the process of buying and financing the purchase of a home. “I decided then that was something that I wanted to do,” states Bal. “Since coming to Abilene, the IRC has helped us in many ways - to get jobs, get our Green Card, make doctors’ appointments, help us learn English, and in other ways. The real estate workshop showed me I could own a house, too.”
The IRC helps refugees rebuild their lives and provides opportunities for them to thrive in the Abilene community. Our organization relies strongly on volunteer help, and one can volunteer in many different capacities. For more information about how you can help, please contact James.McMillon@theIRC.org