Cleonise Tenten and family

In February 2012, Cleonise Tenten moved her family of five from a small tent into a permanent house that she and her husband, a mason, helped build as part of the 2011 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

Cleonise, 32, struggles to find words to express what a difference the house has made to her family.

“Here, I feel safe,” she says. “It’s never too hot or too cold. And I’m not afraid of animals coming in the house and biting me.”

In the tent where her family lived for more than two years, spiders and snakes were frequent, uninvited guests.

“I want more families to be safe,” she says.

Cleonise and her husband have two sons, ages 9 and 6, and a 1-year-old daughter. They have enough money to send only the oldest son to school, but Cleonise dares to dream of a brighter future for all three children.

“I would like them to be doctors or engineers,” she says. “Or maybe a nurse.”