One decade ago a local family escaped civil war and human rights abuses in Sudan, but Tuesday they broke ground on their new home with the help from Habitat for Humanity and hundreds of volunteers.
In 2002, Muhsin Khalil and Amani Salih moved to the U.S. from their native Sudan, escaping the civil war and atrocities there. Since then, they've become American citizens, got married, and had four daughters.
"I'm very happy," says Khalil.
With limited means from Khalil's auto parts job, Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is helping the couple move out of their cramped two-bedroom apartment in Reston and into a single-family, three-bedroom home in Falls Church.
"To have four kids in a two-bedroom is too small, you know?" says Khalil.
"We are so happy because, you know, like our dream come true with Habitat," says Salih.
Their oldest daughter is looking forward to getting some space away from her sisters.
"Because I have my own space I can do whatever I want and they don't bother me," says Nourmonay Abbas, 7.
Representative Jim Moran and other local officials participated in the groundbreaking for the organization's 81st new home built since 1990. But first the abandoned building will have to come down.
"I mean, it's got lead, it's got asbestos. No, it needs to come home," says Jon Smoot, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia.
The Khalil's have earned the house with 500 hours of so-called "sweat equity" for the non-profit, and with the help from over 1,500 volunteers, they themselves will also be part of the construction effort.
"We'll be out here side by side sweating with you as you pound and saw and cut and bleed and put your home together," Smoot says.
The old structure will soon be demolished and construction can now get underway. The Khalil family has been told they can expect to move in sometime in the spring of 2014.