Iraqi refugee family gets home in Sacramento

An Iraqi refugee family has a home in the United States thanks to the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity.

Wasfi Dawood fled his native country with his family to escape violence and poverty. After years of running away and looking for a stable place for his family, he feels like he finally is where he needs to be.

"I feel I'm (in a) dream," Dawood said through a translator. His family is set to move into the home Sunday. "I don't want to wake up."

Part of that dream came true thanks to Habitat for Humanity volunteers who remodeled a formerly-foreclosed home in Del Paso Heights for the family. Dawood's family - the Dawood Hashims - also put in 500 hours of construction work and will pay an affordable mortgage for the home.

"During his interview Wasfi said to us having this home is the first time in his life that he feels safe and that he's accomplished something for his family," Laine Himmelmann, a spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity, said.

Dawood was kidnapped when living in Iraq and had to pay ransom for his release. Shortly after, he fled with his family, carrying his son, who has severe brain damage, on his back. They traveled through Egypt and Syria searching for peace and safety and they finally found it in the United States when they moved here two years ago.

"Since I arrived to the United States I felt the justice, the humanity, and the equality between the people," Dawood said.

When Habitat for Humanity remodeled the home, they built in features that fit the special needs of Dawood's son, including wide doorways for his wheelchair and a shower that he can use comfortably.

Now the Dawood Hashims have many people to thank, starting with those who donated their time and money so the family could have a place to call home.

"This is the first step to feel safe and happy in this country," Dawood said.


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