The Demeke Family

Ed Blake giving house keys to Mr. Demeke Ed Blake giving house keys to Mr. Demeke

"I am forever grateful for this wonderful organization."

In 2005, Ms. Demeke, a news reporter in Ethiopia, was forced to flee or likely face jail when political turmoil broke out. Pregnant, she had to leave her mother, sisters, 11-year-old son, and adopted daughter behind.  A refugee organization brought her to the U.S., but she had to fend for herself with few resources. Speaking very limited English, she worked in restaurants, often with her infant son on her hip due to a lack of childcare options. She pushed forward, attending school and learning English.

Determined to find better work, Ms. Demeke applied at Primary Children's Hospital and was offered a job in housekeeping.  She found daycare, got her driver's license, bought an old used car, and began getting second-hand furniture and things for her small apartment.  Her coworkers watched her overcome barrier after barrier. In 2011, she obtained citizenship and was able to bring her son and daughter to the U.S. Ms. Demeke continued school to improve her employability. 

When Ms. Demeke applied for her Habitat home, 75% of her income went toward rent for a very small apartment. She and her family moved into their Habitat for Humanity home in the summer of 2013. Today, her children are grown, and she is a grandmother with a very rewarding career as an Operating Room Technician.

In Ms. Demeke's own words:

“I’ve been fortunate to meet some very kind people who’ve helped me along the way with work, my children, and making a life for my family here in Utah. I found out about Habitat for Humanity and applied with no expectations. Once I was approved, I worked very hard to get my sweat equity hours completed. I have sacrificed and hit many adversities in this sometimes-hostile world. Through my dedication and hard work, this fairy tale miracle came true. I am forever grateful for this wonderful organization of Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity. Thank you!”