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Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
September 18, 2008

Community Generosity

Mr. Speaker, today I get to share a story with this House about an amazing gift of kindness that has taken place in my constituency of Wolseley and the people who made it happen.

Mr. Speaker, Mahmed and Sophia Jemei are refugees from Sudan who have been living in Winnipeg for the last five years. Last year they were living with their seven children in a two-bedroom apartment. In an attempt to better provide for their family, the Jemeis approached their local church, Young United, for some assistance, and a lady named Marjorie Dunderdale heard the family's story and decided that she wanted to help.

Mr. Speaker, you have to appreciate that Mrs. Dunderdale is 98 years old, but she had a house on Simcoe Avenue that she decided that she would transfer to the family. She approached Kikinaw Housing Project, which is a not-for-profit agency, who then in turn agreed to purchase, renovate and then rent the house back to the Jemei family. Mrs. Dunderdale then took the additional step of donating $30,000 back from the sale of her home to Kikinaw Housing to finance the renovation and upgrade the home to provide more bathrooms and bedrooms for the large family. In addition, our government has provided $10,000 towards the renovation of the windows in this home through the Neighbourhood Housing Assistance program.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to report that the Jemei family will be moving into their newly renovated home in a few days, on October 1 this year. The rent that they will be paying is simply going to be the cost of the interest and the property taxes for the next five years. Following that, if the family decides to purchase the home, Kikinaw will sell it to them at the current market price.

Mr. Speaker, this is clearly a story of the thoughtful and compassionate nature that Manitobans are capable of and about our willingness to work together to build our city and our communities. The generosity of Mrs. Dunderdale, Kikinaw Housing Project and Young United Church has allowed the Jemei family to find a footing in Winnipeg as they work to build a life for themselves here. It is stories like this that inspire all of us to be the best citizens that we can be.

I would ask the House to join me today in welcoming the Jemei family to Canada, to Manitoba, to Winnipeg and, in particular, to their new home and to applaud Marjorie Dunderdale, Kikinaw Housing Project and Young United Church for making this dream a reality. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.