Siriro Hakizimana knows that by virtue of being in the United States, his children will have access to more education than he did.
The Burundi native attended school until he was 12, but by the age of 16, both of his parents had been killed in violence that continues to plague the country and he was living in a refugee camps.
Last year, he, his wife and their five children were granted refugee status and the opportunity to move to America. The destination? Austin. A town they’d never heard of, but which promised a safer environment and the chance for a better life.
The Hakizimana family is part of the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring charity program, which helps 12 featured families and hundreds of others throughout Central Texas through local nonprofit agencies. The Hakizimanas were nominated by Caritas of Austin.
This week, the Austin office of architecture firm Gensler decided to adopt the family for the holidays. This is the fourth year the office has made Season for Caring part of its holiday celebration. For the next two weeks, staff will bring in items on the Hakizimanas wish list to their office; on the weekend before Christmas, members of the firm will deliver the items to the family. […]