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Meet Sajana and Philip

Earlier this month Habitat for Humanity South Australia handed Sajana and Philip and their family the keys to their new home.
Hello, my name is Sajana and this is my family’s story.

My husband Philip and I and our four children fled our country in 2011 because of war and fighting which was killing many people. We decided me must leave because it wasn’t safe for our family to live anymore. Our eldest child was 8 and our baby was only 1 year old.

We came to Australia by boat, which was very tough and cruel. After the first few days our food supply started to run out and so did the clean water. Before we knew it, we were drinking sea water and did not have much to eat. We did
not know if everyone on the boat with us would survive.

We were not sure where we were anymore, but by a miracle we got saved by an Australian man. We were taken to Cocos Island camp and from there we were transported to other camps such as Christmas Island, Brisbane and then Adelaide. We were in camps for about 1 year which was very hard on us, especially our children.

We moved to Victoria and got to know our environment and we got to experience how life was like in Victoria. There were many difficulties for us and we were unsure of things but with help we managed to face each obstacle that came our way. As we got the hang of things we decided to start a small business. The business didn’t turn out the way we planned. People who purchased items from us did not pay and we had a huge loss.

We moved from house to house and rented for all our life. We had a lot of bad experiences. But the reason we started a small business was so we could save up money to buy a house and we wanted to keep trying.

Since moving to Australia 8 years ago we have been doing everything in our power to get a home but as life went on it did not seem like it was going to happen. So as a family we decided to move back to South Australia to start a new life with every little hope left.

After 3 months living in Adelaide, Philip was able to get a job working for a mushroom company which made him very happy. But after a few months, it wasn’t busy and lots of people lost their jobs. Philip lost his job. But Philip did not to give up and went looking for another job which took a long time. But he managed to find a new job at Ingham’s. I am unable to work because I take care of our four children and I have a problem with my hand which I have had for many years.

Philip asked many people at work and other places about how to get a house. One of his friends told him that there’s this community that help families like ours. I was very happy to hear that but I was not sure if they could help us because banks have always said “NO” to us for a loan because our low income. But Philip contacted the community called Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to God and everyone that has helped us, my family was selected to have a home with Habitat for Humanity. I am really happy that all our hardships and problems and the hard work we put in paid off.

We have just started building our home with Habitat for Humanity. I am very grateful for what they have done for my family.