“Everything that I have now is thanks to Matthew House Ottawa” - Chrisna
Since 2010, Matthew House Ottawa has housed hundreds of refugee claimants, and provided free, quality used furniture to about 5000 families in need. We have done this as a large, dedicated team of volunteers and a small handful of employees, with a lot of passion and commitment. Each month we share interviews and stories of people involved with or impacted by our work.
What’s your name? Chrisna
Where are you from? I’m originally from Burundi.
How did you end up in Canada? There was no plan for me to come here but the political situation in my country pushed me to come to Canada.
Where were you before Matthew House Ottawa? I lived at the Salvation Army for two days. Those two days were just 48 hours but to be honest they were like 48 months. All I wanted was to be in a safe place where there were no gun shots going over my head. Coming to Matthew House Ottawa and seeing this amazing place, I thought to myself: “I am finally in a safe place.”
What is a fond memory from Matthew House Ottawa? I went tobogganing with some of the residents and Jane Sider, the family host. I went down the hill with one friend who was 56 years old. He was yelling and putting his legs down to stop because he was scared and I’m thinking this is amazing. We did somersaults and kept rolling down the hill. It was so much fun.
What are you thankful for? There were people that we never met but they contributed to Matthew House Ottawa. I want to say thank you to those people because we don’t know who they are but they know us. Isn’t that amazing?
Matthew House Ottawa is amazing. I got a job and into school because of them. Everything that I have now is thanks to Matthew House Ottawa. God used Matthew House for me to be where I am today.
What are you up to now? I’m in school trying to complete my pre-requisites so that I can get into the University of Ottawa. I was looking into Business Administration but I was too late. They had already stopped taking in students when I received my protected person status. I’ll do Economics and transfer the courses. Also, I babysit my brother every once in a while so I get to see my parents.
Interview and story by Rachel Burgis.
Wanna help? Here is how you can make a difference in our community through Matthew House Ottawa:
Pray: for past, present and future residents and furniture bank clients
Donate: to sustain and grow our impact
Volunteer: with our refugee services program or furniture bank
*Note: interviews have been edited for clarity