LEXINGTON, Ky. — University of Kentucky students, with the support of the local Habitat for Humanity organization and the UK Division for Student Affairs, now have two completed houses under their tool belt. The students presented keys to the house they built on Ash Street to Khalfan Niyonizigiye and Nkeshimana Nadine and their two young children on March 3.
“Housing is the first need in someone’s life. The basic need for all else to work well and be safe in life is a home,” said Khalfan said.
Already the UK Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, a student organization, and the UK Interfraternity Chapter and the UK Panhellenic Council, representing the university’s Greek community, are seeking funding for their next joint venture. They are planning fundraising events that will enable them to amass the $40,000 required to begin their third Habitat for Humanity house for another worthy Lexington family.
Khalfan and Nadine are both natives of Burundi. Before coming to Lexington in 2009 they spent 12 years in a refugee camp in Tanzania. They have a 6-year-old daughter Nishimwe and a 3-year-old son Chretien. Khalfan and Nadine both learned English in high school, which has helped them with their transition to America. In their native country, Khalfan was a high school teacher and Nadine was a nurses’ aid.
As soon as they settled in Lexington the young family started building a new future. Luckily, many of Khalfan’s college course credits from Africa transferred to Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), where he is pursuing a medical degree. He also works full time at Amazon as a second-shift warehouse associate. Nadine works full time at UK Chandler Hospital as a housekeeper, while she also attends BCTC to work on her English and her GED.