Meet Fatoumata Ba-Shaw and her children, Arionna and Amari
It was a lesson of sustained faith that carried Fatoumata Ba-Shaw (Touly) in her journey from Senegal in West Africa to the United States with an aunt, uncle and her two siblings when she was just eight years old. It was Touly’s mother’s dying wish that her children would have the education opportunities that the United States could provide. It was faith that helped them build their lives in a new country. Faith in each other and their new community that helped them find strength, stability, and self-reliance. Faith that one day, they would have the opportunity to serve as a positive force for others in need.
“I feel that God heard my prayers,” explains Touly, now a single mother of two young teenage children; Arionna and Amari. In 2016, Touly volunteered at our Manassas ReStore and learned about Habitat Prince William County’s affordable homeownership opportunities. “This was a hard time for the children and me, but I knew if we had faith and spent time giving back to our community, we would find a new path together.” Indeed, Touly’s persistence and resiliency paid off. They literally jumped for joy when they recently received the news that they were selected as future Habitat homeowners for a home at 9004 Old Hickory Court in Manassas.
What this opportunity means to Touly’s family
“I’m getting my own bedroom,” exclaimed Arionna enthusiastically. Right now, she shares a bedroom with her brother in their small upstairs apartment. A talented soprano with an ambition to be a professional singer after college, she is anxious for her younger brother and his many soccer balls to move into their own space. Amari and his mom are excited about a real backyard space—an open green space where Amari can practice soccer and where their family and friends can gather to eat dinner, celebrate holidays, and exchange memories together.
Touly will meet significant requirements as a homeowner
As part of her homeownership agreement with Habitat Prince William County, Touly will buy her own home, making a 3% down payment and modest monthly mortgage payments over the next 30 years. She will also provide 250-300 hours of hands-on sweat equity, working side-by-side with community volunteers to renovate her future home. In addition, Touly will participate in financial education classes covering budgeting, saving and investing, and planning for emergencies and the future needs of her children—all-important life skills she plans to pass along to her daughter and son.
“Knowledge is power, and I want Arionna and Amari to learn that if you apply yourself, keep up with your education, be respectful and give back to your community, and have deep faith, then all things are possible,” said Touly. “This is an exciting, new chapter in our life. Thanks to Habitat Prince William County and the hundreds of donors and volunteers who support them, I can invest in my children’s future by providing a safe, healthy home for them. We’re on our way to something extraordinary…we have faith.”
How you can be involved
Currently, we are raising the funds needed to rehab the home that Touly will eventually own at 9004 Old Hickory Court in Manassas. Your donation will help us get started!
This fall, after we’ve raised funds for the rehab work, volunteer opportunities will be available. To stay current on the news, subscribe to our newsletter on our Home Page (bottom, right-hand corner.) To register as a volunteer, click the button below.