Little girl dances on father’s feet in the living room.

Home is the key to a healthy childhood

After serving as a translator for the United States Armed Forces in Afghanistan, Emal and his family immigrated to the U.S. where he settled down with his wife, Wajma, and their three children — Zenab, Yousef and Zenet.

While acclimating to their new country, the family struggled to find adequate housing. They were living in a two-bedroom apartment, the children sharing one bedroom.

But it wasn’t just the cramped quarters that were creating issues for the family. They were also struggling with alarming health issues for the children due to the apartment’s bed bugs, roaches and mice and regular, heavy fumigation that still wasn’t eradicating the problem.

A family of five poses for a portrait on the couch.

All of this took a toll on the children’s health. They would get severe rashes and infections, requiring them to see a doctor and miss school. “My kids used to get sick all the time,” says Emal. “Every month I would have to take at least one child to the emergency room or urgent care clinic because of their illnesses.”

The moments that Emal cherishes most now are the ones free of worry and unexpected visits to the doctor. Since moving into their Habitat home, he says, his kids rarely get sick. They love having their own rooms and their very own yard to play in.

“The biggest change I have seen from the house is my kids’ health,” says Emal. “Now that my kids are healthy and we have this home, I can focus on my next big goal for them: their education.”

Home is the Key

Everyone deserves the security and stability of a decent home that they can afford. Join Habitat for Humanity as we help families in need of a decent place to live through our 2024 Home is the Key campaign.

Read more