Meet the Alaya-Hajiehweigh Family

Our headlines are dominated by the cauldron of death and misery that is Syria.  With Sac-Habitat’s help, the Alaya-Hajiehweigh family escaped that fate, to be reunited here for a new beginning.

As a writer of fiction, I believe that the best stories happen all around us—waiting to be told: Real people, with real hopes, dreams, and challenges.

As a former member of the Board of Directors and volunteer for Sacramento’s chapter, I believe in Habitat for Humanity. Simply stated, Sac-Habitat improves our community, one family at a time.I’m promoting my first short story collection, “Matters Familiar,” this holiday season. I thought, Why not help a family in need in a meaningful, lasting way at the same time?

MY PLEDGE: For every eBook or paperback copy of “Matters Familiar” sold during the holidays, I’ll donate $1 to Sacramento Habitat for Humanity, for a new home for a qualifying family. (For every individual e-story sold, I’ll donate 10 cents of the 99-cent purchase price.)

MY GOAL: To raise $75,000 to sponsor a complete build in 2013, on behalf of “Fans of E. G. Fabricant.”—EGF




(You can see more photos of the Alaya-Hajiehweigh family on my Facebook page.)


Abdul Alaya came alone to the United States in 1998 from Maydeen, Syria, to find his family a new home, where they could be safely away from the brutal massacres and political upheaval plaguing their own country.

I wanted to stay in Syria, but I couldn’t’ raise a family with all the killings.  It was a very bad and dangerous situation. So I came to the United States, first as a tourist, then a student, and then as a citizen.

After a brief tour, Abdul attended college in Kansas after applying for and receiving a student visa.  Abdul married Wafa Hajiehweigh, herself already a U.S. citizen and became a citizen himself.  In February of 2011, Abdul was finally able to reunite his family again in the United States.  Abdul; Wafa; Abdul’s mother, Hadieh; and their six sons—Omar; Abdullah; Adham; Mohamed; Ibrahim; and Abdul–all currently live in a two-bedroom apartment. They admit

It’s hard with so many people, but we try to make it work.  You just don’t want to see the closets, everything’s full!  We are together, we are safe—we have a lot.

A very positive outlook considering that, with nine people living in the two-bedroom apartment, most of the children have to sleep in the living room or on the floor

Abdul heard about Sacramento Habitat through a former Habitat homeowner and immediately applied.   Abdul and his three oldest sons all participated in completing the 500 hours of “sweat equity” required of all selected Habitat homeowners, with Abdul going above and beyond by putting in an extra 200 hours of volunteer work on his home.  Abdul says:

When you work on your house, you have special feelings- I loved the sweat equity and I feel very blessed.  My wife, Wafa, is most excited about the space.  For me, this house, it’s like a dream.

Abdul also admits that he doesn’t mind the Western Avenue neighborhood area because—

Habitat is doing a great job to make these areas better—bringing good families here.  In 30 or 40 years, you will see something different.  Like Western Avenue, it will be different.  We will make it different.

The Alaya-Hajiehweigh family will be moving into their newly-remodeled SHRA home on Western Avenue next month.


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  1. Alaya Family Dedication–Save the Date! » E.G. Fabricant | E.G. Fabricant

    […] here to read my full profile of the Alayas and their journey from violence and hopelessness to a new […]

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