Fatima Babiker came to America from Egypt nearly four years ago with a dream of making a better life for herself and her children. The 33-year-old single mother of four, ages 7 to 11, experienced despair in her former country, but now carries the bright light of hope in her heart since arriving here.
“It’s very hard, but I have to make it,” she says. “When I came here, I got closer to my children. Before, it was very difficult in Cairo because I worked long hours.”
The family is part of the Statesman’s Season for Caring program, which helps hundreds of families each year through local nonprofit agencies. Babiker’s family was nominated by Caritas of Austin.
Babiker grew up in Sudan and moved to Egypt with her parents and siblings as a teenager.
She married at age 18 and had the first of four children soon after. Her husband took sick and soon left the family. Meanwhile, she worked long hours at a beauty salon for meager earnings over the next 10 years, all the while attempting to get a visa application approved by the United Nations. During this time, her ex-husband, who had heart disease, did not provide financial support.
“My life was miserable back then,” she said.
Finally, in the spring of 2016, her application was approved and she came to Austin.
Moving to Austin has allowed her to spend more time with 11-year-old daughter Sajeda, 9-year-old son Mosbah and 7-year-old twins, daughter Layal and son Mohammed.
The family lives in a two-bedroom apartment in North Austin. The furnishings in the living and dining area are old and worn.
Babiker said her landlord has informed the family will have to move because five people aren’t allowed to live in a two-bedroom apartment. Her current rent is $900 a month but that doesn’t include utilities, food, and other necessities.
Babiker works for a local house cleaning service, but dreams of one day becoming a licensed cosmetologist. Babiker, whose native language is Arabic, wants to take classes to improve her grasp of the language, which would allow how to improve her prospects of getting a better job.
A reliable SUV will also help her with better employment. A car she was borrowing is unreliable after a theft attempt. She has to get rides to work from a friend because she says she isn’t allowed to bring her cleaning supplies on the city bus.
She believes a car would be essential in not only getting her to work everyday, but also with the schedules of her children who are involved in school activities.
The family also needs beddings for twin beds and one queen, as well as gift cards for groceries and clothing.
To find out more about Babikerand her family, contact Caritas of Austin at 512-646-1277, caritasofaustin.org.