After serving as a translator for the United States Armed Forces in Afghanistan, Emal immigrated to the U.S., where he settled down with his wife, Wajma, and their three children: 8-year-old Zenab, 6-year-old Yousef and 2-year-old Zenet.
While acclimating to their new country, the family struggled to find adequate housing. They were living in a two-bedroom apartment, with the children sharing one bedroom. But the cramped quarters were not the only issue for the young family. The children were also struggling with alarming health issues because of the apartment’s bed bugs, roaches and mice and the regular, heavy fumigation that still wasn’t eradicating the problem.
The children would get severe rashes and infections, requiring them to see a doctor and miss school. “My kids used to get sick all the time,” Emal says. “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 new Habitat home, he says, his kids rarely get sick. They love having their own rooms and their very own yard to play in. “Now that my kids are healthy and we have this new home, I can focus on my next big goal for them: their education.”