Rina Dixon’s husband was tragically murdered back in 2007. Back then, two of their three children were only one and two years old.
The situation got even worse when Rina’s salary could not cover their living costs. The grieving family had to move out of their house and into public housing. They were allotted a home in a rough neighborhood with frequent gang violence and shootings; Rita knew that they had to move again to protect her children’s well-being.
The family of four moved into her mother’s dilapidated little garage. They spent the following three years living in just 200 square feet. Her sons Roshund and Miguel had to share a bed. Her daughter, 16-year old Jaela, slept on a sofa in what they used as the living room.
The place lacked basic infrastructure such as running water, electricity or heating in the winter months and lacked even basic privacy. Everything changed in 2013, when Rina was accepted into the Habitat For Humanity’s ‘sweat equity’ program.
Sweat equity is a concept where instead of ‘financial equity’ where money is invested, a person invests his or her labor and that way pays for a certain property or object. Habitat For Humanity gives their proteges the chance to buy the homes they’ve themselves built with a zero percent mortgage interest.
The children needed a proper home
Rina spent almost every day during the following three years performing manual labor on what would become hers and her children’s new house. She almost gave up after initial difficulties. But the prospect of finally being able to give her children a real home is what drove her towards her goal.
Finally, after three gruelling years, the Dixon family moved into their new home in March 2016. Rina says it’s been a “long nine years” since her husband’s passing, but now she is finally at peace.
Hear more of what she has to say in the video.