Refugee family is recipient of Lexmark’s 21st Habitat for Humanity house

HABITAT 2016

By Scott Shive

Thanks to the dedication, hard work and sweat of Lexmark employees, a Congolese refugee and her four young children have a brand-new home.

Lexmark recently dedicated its 21st corporate-sponsored Habitat for Humanity house in the Brookfield Chase neighborhood of Lexington, Ky.

According to Lexington Habitat CEO Rachel Smith Childress, Lexmark has fully sponsored more families with homeownership than any other single entity.

About 70 Lexmark volunteers volunteered more than 750 hours to build the house, and Lexmark fully funds its construction. The build began in mid-March and continued most Fridays and Saturdays until the home was recently completed.

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Charmelle Kindeke — who fled the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and has lived in Lexington for six years — will make a home there with her four children: Esperance, 11; Mambuene, 8; Umba, 3; and Kathleen, 2. Currently an employee of Aramark, Kindeke hopes to return to school to further improve her family’s life once they have settled into their new home. She said that her children are excited to have their own yard with lots of space to dance and play.

The family worked alongside Lexmark volunteers to build the house — a Habitat requirement known as “sweat equity.”

Lexmark’s Habitat volunteer coordinator Chris Case, a product owner in Imaging Solutions and Services, said, “I was able to work with the homeowner the first build week. She was very excited about her new home being constructed and was surprised how many volunteers showed up to build her house.”

Case said, “Homeownership builds stronger families, and communities as the homeowners feel more connected and have a sense of pride for their home and surrounding community. I have been blessed and want to give back to our community and as a bonus, I get to learn a little along the way.”

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Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 with the mission of creating “a world where everyone has a decent place to live” by bringing “people together to build homes, communities and hope.” Lexington’s Habitat chapter was founded in 1986. Lexmark has partnered with the nonprofit since 1998.

(Pictured above) On the back row from left to right are: Lexington Habitat CEO Rachel Smith Childress, homeowner Charmelle Kindeke (with her children in front), Lexmark community program manager Bethany Denning, and Lexmark’s Habitat volunteer coordinator Chris Case. Photos by Carl Overton.