In 1998, Tarig bounded into his apartment, twirled his wife Siddiga around, and triumphantly shared that they had won the VISA lottery to move to the United States. While Tarig was overjoyed, Siddiga was filled with fear. Siddiga’s impression of the U.S. came from movies she had watched, leading her to believe it was a violent country. Trusting her husband, she tentatively agreed to a trial visit, but she made no promises to stay.
Once in Greensboro, the couple stayed with Tarig’s uncle until they could afford a small 1-bedroom apartment in downtown Greensboro. Siddiga remained fearful but slowly began to feel more comfortable. As their agreed-upon trial period came to an end and Tarig asked if Siddiga still wanted to return to Saudi Arabia, Siddiga exclaimed, “No! Greensboro is my home now.”
The couple worked to build their lives here in Greensboro and Siddiga, who held an accounting degree from Sudan, returned to school to study social work. While they were building a happy life, there was one last piece they needed to complete their American dream – a home of their own.
Siddiga and Tarig moved into their Habitat home just before their second son was born. As the boys grew, they enjoyed playing with neighborhood friends, frequently going outside in the morning and not returning until bedtime! Eventually, the family realized they needed a larger home. Having paid off their home in 2014, the couple had saved money for the down payment of a larger home, which they purchased in 2018.
Because they had saved for the down payment of their new home, Siddiga and Tarig did not need to sell their first home. Instead, they are utilizing their home to help other immigrant families on their journey to homeownership. Over the past three years, the couple has helped two immigrant families by renting their home at a very affordable rate and connecting them with area resources.
Siddiga’s assistance to others extends far beyond providing housing to other immigrants. Having completed her degree in social work, she also completed her Master’s in Social Work through UNCG and NC A&T’s joint program and is now working with immigrants and refugees struggling with mental health issues. Siddiga received the Minerva Service Award in 2019 for outstanding service in the International Community and recently chaired the International Advisory Committee for the City of Greensboro, serving as a voice and advocate for the international community.
From a hesitant immigrant to a strong advocate and community leader, Siddiga has maximized her Habitat experience to improve her family’s life and help others throughout the community. Of her experience, Siddiga shared, “Habitat is a great opportunity to feel connected. I knew deep in my heart that Christians and Muslims are connected, and I felt that through all the Habitat volunteers, construction staff, and the church who sponsored our Habitat home. I’m still friends with the woman from that church who made the curtains for our home all those years ago.”