From war-torn Africa to a safe home
- 12 March 2021 11:15AM
It’s been a long journey to find a safe home in Brisbane for Pamel and his family. It wouldn’t have happened without the perseverance of our dedicated Housing Service Centre (HSC) staff.
Pamel and Bikwaya met after escaping war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and seeking refuge in Kenya. Bikwaya’s parents were killed in the conflict with Rwanda and Pamel’s life was under threat from the Rwandan insurgents. But unfortunately, life was no easier in Nairobi.
The couple and their growing family struggled to earn a fair wage and make a life for themselves. With the help of the United Nations, the couple and their children were resettled in Darwin in 2018. They moved to Brisbane in December 2020 because Pamel suffers from a medical condition that is exacerbated by high humidity.
When Raymond, who is a Senior Housing Officer at the HSC, learned that the family were living in two rooms in a boarding house in inner city Brisbane, he was determined to find them a home.
“They had viewed more than 15 private rentals, some with the help of our Rent Connect officers. Despite having a good reference from their property manager in Darwin, the family was unsuccessful in securing a tenancy,” Raymond said.
“I emailed my colleagues to see if they had any 3-bedroom department properties we could offer them. Their youngest child is just 10 months old and the boarding house was not a safe place for them to live.
“Luckily Rose at the Ipswich HSC answered the email and offered them a home that the family eagerly accepted.”
Pamel and Bikwaya are thrilled to have found a home for their family, which is in a quiet suburban street. The older children have settled into school and they have already met the neighbours.
“My neighbour helped me mow the grass when I first arrived. The people are good in Australia. I love living here,” Pamel said.
Bikwaya was eager to convey her gratitude which Pamel translated from Swahili to English.
“I am very thankful. God bless you. God bless the Housing Service. Thank you to all the people devoted to helping us find this house. God bless the Australian Government for all the love,” Bikwaya said.