Several community organizations have come together to help two Iraqi families build a new home and a better life in America. Volunteer soldiers from the North Dakota Army National Guard and Air National Guard, Lutheran Social Services, WDAY-AM 970 radio, and Congressman Earl Pomeroy's office, partnered together with Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanities to build a twin home in West Fargo. The twin home will become home for an Iraqi widow and her seven children on one side. Her refuge brother and his family will live in the adjacent home.
A dedication ceremony for the twin home, located at 1207 and 1211 4thh St. N., was held on Saturday, March 29. Following the dedication and blessing, tours of the homes were conducted. The twin homes are the 21st and 22nd homes completed by the local Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity affiliate since it was founded in 1991.
Fatima Al-Kaabi, a 36-year-old widow who lost her husband and father under the regime of Saddam Hussein, has been renting an apartment for herself and her seven children, ages 17, 15, 14, 13, 8, 4 and 2. Ali Al-Kaabi, Fatima's brother, is married to Lena. He has two daughters, ages 8 and 2, and a stepdaughter who is almost 15. Ali is employed by Phoenix International, while Fatima is a housekeeper at the Fargo Holiday Inn.
In a press release, retired Major General Mike Haugen, a volunteer and former North Dakota Adjutant General said, "It has been a joy to work on these homes and see this family progress over the last couple of years. They live today away from the fear and oppression they lived under in Iraq."
North Dakota Congressman Earl Pomeroy, North Dakota Governor John Hoeven, West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, and Retired Major General Mike Haugen were on hand for the ceremonies.
The lot for the homes was donated by Dan Passolt and Homeland Developers.
Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit Christian housing organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing by building simple, decent and affordable housing. Partner families purchase these homes with a no-interest mortgage, and invest time in the building process. Lake Agassiz plans to build six more homes in 2008 in Fargo, West Fargo, Moorhead, and Casselton. For more information, go to their Web site at www.lakeagassizhabitat.org.