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Learning to hope

The life of my family began to change when a friend of mine told me that there was an organization in Ulan-Ude, which helped people own a home. At first I didn’t believe it. My life had taught me to be distrustful, but a little hope was born in my heart.

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Munkaeva Family lived in terrible conditions before moving into their Habitat home.

We lived in terrible conditions. My husband, our two daughters and I, lived in one small room (12 square meters), which served both as kitchen and bedroom. I cooked meals and my daughters did their homework on the same table.

The toilet and the bathroom were on the first floor―one toilet and one bathroom for 150 people! The building was very old, the walls were covered with mold and I thought the ceiling might fall in any time. The temperature in our room was about 10 degrees in winter.

After I learned about Habitat for Humanity, we went to the office in Ulan-Ude. My husband did not believe that somebody might help us get a home. But on our first visit we met people who surprised me with their enthusiasm. I was immediately welcomed warmly. I realized that I might qualify for a home for the first time in my life!

Within few days, I completed an application and provided required financial documents. Then a letter came. My hands were trembling when I opened the envelope―we were chosen!

We repaired every piece of our flat with great love. The families―partners such as us―helped us to do the repair work. Now we have done 400 hours of sweat equity already. Today, we live in our new apartment, but sometimes when I awake in the morning I still don’t believe my own eyes.

The girls like their new room very much and posters with their favorite singers hang on the walls. My younger one, Namsalma, misses her friends and she is upset that they still live in bad conditions. But she has a dream: “When I grow I will work with Habitat in order to help my neighbors move in new houses, like mine!”

Antonina Munkaeva is a Habitat homeowner from Ulan-Ude, Russia.

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our donations page to support projects in Europe and Central Asia.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in Europe and Central Asia.

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