A life-changing loan

Nearing 80 years old, Susan found herself falling into a financial hole. After a predatory mortgage tore through Susan’s finances, she found herself experiencing homelessness for the first time in her life. Her only income was her social security, and she did not have a safety net. Unable to find a place to move into due to credit problems, Susan …



Meet John Nahimana from Burundi

Since he was a teenager, John has always known he was good at cutting hair. He got his start helping his brother trim hair at a salon in Malawi when he was very young. Now, 17 years later, John is achieving his dream of opening his own full-service salon here in America. Called He & She Salon, John’s shop is …



The Ingredients to Start a New Life and Restaurant

Meet Salam Bunyan from Baghdad Salam Bunyan is an expert chef. He grew up in Iraq experimenting with different flavors and combining ingredients. He lived and worked around food in Iraq — including serving as a chef at a five-star restaurant in Baghdad — until 2006, when war forced him to leave his native country. In the early ‘90s, Salam …



Hana is Fulfilling Her Dream

Hana grew up in Baghdad, where food, groceries, and bakeries were always a family affair for her. Both her grandmother and mother owned stores there, and she and her brothers have fond memories of helping and playing in those stores when they were small children in Iraq. Today Hana is fulfilling her dream of having her own store. She recently …



Meet Laylo from Somalia

Laylo was born in Somalia but grew up in Kenya. She came to Idaho in 2009 and loves it here. “Boise feels like a second home,” she says. “People are so helpful and welcoming, and we’ve made lots of friends.” Laylo experienced many ups and downs before coming to the United States, having spent 18 years in refugee camps. But …



Abdi Haji – Umoja Na Uhuru World Farm

If you’ve been to Boise’s Capital City Public Market, you’ve probably seen Abdi Haji of Umoja Na Uhuru World Farm. A refugee from Somalia, Abdi has been growing organic vegetables in the Treasure Valley since 2006, first with the Somali Bantu Community Farm in Eagle, then through Global Gardens, a program of the Idaho Office for Refugees. When Abdi decided …



Valentine (Yao) Sessou-Djokotu – Valentino’s Hair Cut Up

Valentine Sessou-Djokutu came to the US from Togo after spending seven years in a refugee camp in Benin. He arrived with his wife and three children in March of 2007 already possessing 24 years experience as a barber. After attending Boise Barber College, he received a license and a certificate. EO helped him sublease a space from another EO client, …



Hasan Abdulkareem – Adem’s Auto Sales

Hasan Abdulkareem left Iraq at 12 years of age and came to the US with his mother and brother after nine years in Jordan. Although he is nearing completion of a Civil Engineering degree at Boise State University, his love for cars has kept him involved with his business, Adem’s Auto Sales. EO was able to help him with a …



Tino Silva – Intermountain Construction and Abatement

Tino Silva, owner of Intermountain Construction and Abatement, is living proof of the “American Dream. With EO’s help, a relationship with Zions Bank was built that ultimately helped him secure an SBA 7(a) loan and purchase the business at which he had worked for the past eight years. The previous owner of the company was ready to retire and thought …



Horacio Castillo – Janitzio Restaurant

Horacio Castillo has owned Janitzio Restaurant for nine years and runs it with his family. Recently the owner of the building where their restaurant formerly resided informed Horacio that she did not intend to renew their lease. So Horacio made plans to buy the building across the street that housed a competing restaurant, knowing that the restaurant’s owners were ready …