Restoring Dignity Home Makeover #36

Saturday, February 1st, 2020


“One person caring about another represents life’s greatest value.”

— Jim Rohn

Sign-up to donate items here.

Their Story

Ten years ago, a Karenni family of seven came to America after living in a refugee camp in Thailand for thirteen years. Their family story started the same as many people: two people met each other, fell in love, and decided to get married. Both the mom and dad of this family grew up in the mountains of Burma and harvested rice for a living. They dreamed of having a large family, and were thrilled when they found out they were pregnant shortly after their wedding. After the birth of their first child, all seemed well and their future looked bright. However, shortly after their baby boy was born, the Burmese civil war landed on their doorstep. In just one short day everything violently changed, as their village was burned to the ground by the Burmese army. Grabbing their infant son, they fled through mountains, jungles and rivers to find safety in a Thai refugee camp. During their flight, half of their extended family got separated and they were not able to find each other for a long time. While in the refugee camp, the family traded their freedom for safety. They were not allowed to leave the camp and thus depended on outside organizations to bring them food. One of the mom’s most vivid memories from life in the camp was the constant feeling of hunger. There was never enough food and she and her husband and children starved; everyday they hoped and prayed that they could one day live a life where their stomachs were full and they were free to pursue work, education and farming once more. Thirteen years passed and the mom and dad had four more children: three girls and one boy. Shortly after their fifth child was born, they found out that they had been accepted to be resettled as refugees in the United States. Excited, scared, and hopeful, they boarded a plane and found themselves in California. For eight years, they raised their family in a two bedroom apartment in the Golden State. They were the only Karenni family in their town, and that was a hardship for them, because they felt very isolated and alone. The mom of the family described their experience as “suffering” because none of them knew any English and it was almost impossible to communicate with anyone. One day, one of their friend’s called and told them that Omaha, Nebraska had a lot of jobs and that there was a large number of Karenni families moving there. Packing up everything they owned, they took a risk and moved to Omaha. Finding a job was easy — the dad started work almost immediately at a meat-packing plant. However, finding good housing was another story. The only apartments they could afford were in poor condition, and the one they ended up in had a leaking roof, bed bugs, cockroaches, and a furnace that leaked gas. In 2018, their heat went out in the winter, and it took two months of telling the landlord about it, for him to finally come and fix it. Living with no heat during Omaha’s cold winter was a hardship that the family is still upset and traumatized from. Shortly after living with no heat, their 16 year old high school daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. For the past year she has been fighting hard and several months ago her doctors gave her great news: she’s in remission. Throughout the chaos of the last few years, the family remained determined: they wanted to get out of their very substandard apartment and achieve the American Dream of owning a home. They saved every penny and finally had enough to put down a deposit on a home in a nice neighborhood, far away from their horrible experience in their Omaha apartment. Two weeks ago, they closed on their home, and have finally moved in! One of the children’s teachers referred this family to Restoring Dignity. We met with them, assessed their situation, and offered to provide a home-makeover! They immediately accepted and are excited for our volunteers to come and make their house a home. Join us as we bring this family much-needed household items and furniture!

The Family

The Solution

We are taking action on Saturday, February 1st, 2020 from 10am-2pm to provide this family with much-needed household, cleaning and organizational items.

Supplies Needed

Please sign-up for items you will donate on our donation sign-up page.

Donation Drop-Off: All items can be dropped off at: Restoring Dignity Storage Unit Lockbox Storage 301 S. 74th Street Omaha, NE, 68114 Drop-Off Times: Tuesday, December 17th 5:30pm-7:30pm Tuesday, January 7th 5:30pm-7:30pm Saturday, January 11th 12:00pm-2:00pm Tuesday, January 14th 5:30pm-7:30pm Tuesday, January 21st 5:30pm-7:30pm Saturday, January 25th 12:00pm-2:00pm Tuesday, January 28th 5:30pm-7:30pm *If you have large items that you are not able to drop-off, we have an amazing volunteer named Drew who does furniture pick-ups when he is off of work. Please email Drew to see when he is available:   **If you have a large donation and need to drop off items at a different time, please email Hannah Wyble: **All items need to be dropped off by Saturday, January 25th, 2020

Volunteers Needed

Creighton Prep and Marian are providing all volunteers for this project.  
  • Saturday, February 1st, 2020
    • Transportation & Shift One: 10am-12pm: This shift involves loading items onto trucks at the storage unit, and unloading them at the family’s home. We will provide a U-Haul truck. After unloading, we will start cleaning the family’s home. 
    • Shift two: 12pm-2pmThis shift is for people who want to help with bringing items into the house, setting it up and decorating it.
    • Handyperson shiftsThis shift is for a person who is skilled with tools, can help fix broken items in the home, can assemble beds and other furniture, and can hang pictures.

How to Get Involved:

  • Donate items:
We could not do these projects without our donors! They are the heart of these projects! Please let us know what you can donate, and we will take the items off of the list above. If someone would like to “adopt” a member of this family or a room in the apartment, by fulfilling the donations needed for that area, let us know. Otherwise, if you have any items in your house that you no longer need or use, please consider donating them to these projects. Your donations truly do make a direct impact on families in need. To donate items to this family, visit our donation sign up page.
  • Donate financially
As Restoring Dignity has grown so have our basic operating expenses. We now have our own storage facility where we accept, sort and store all of our donations. We pay monthly rent and utilities and are dependent on the financial contributions that we receive. If you are interested in making a financial contribution, please click here.
  • Spread the word:
Tell your friends and family about this project! They might have an extra lamp or a dresser that is no longer in use. Re-post this blog on your Facebook page, or email it to people you know. The more people that know about these projects, the more donations and volunteers. Pictures from the November 2019 RD Home-Makeover:Follow us on Facebook: Restoring Dignity has a Facebook Group that is regularly updated. Please join our group: Restoring Dignity Omaha Facebook Group. Contact us: (c) 402-305-8139