SHE Families Honored at the State Capitol
Two families, Aidor and Nangkeo Saesee and Olga Maldonado and her son Aaron, received USDA
self-help loans to build their homes. They were recognized at the event that took place on the west
steps of the state capitol in Sacramento, California on June 16th.
Through the Mutual
Self-Help Housing Program, USDA provides technical assistance grants and SHE, in turn, acquires and
develops land in rural areas and supervises families as they construct their homes. The families
work on-site for at least 40 hours per week, which gives the family "sweat equity" in their
During the June 16th event at the state capitol, the Saesee and Maldonado families
spoke about their experiences as homeowners. Aidor Saesee expressed happiness that he was able to
build a home of his own in Farmersville, Tulare County for his seven children. Aidor and his wife,
Nangkeo, are U.S. citizens who originally migrated from Laos. Like most SHE families, neither had
construction experience but eagerly accepted the challenge in order to become homeowners. Aidor
feels free in his new home. "People don't come around to collect rent or tell us we owe them
money," he said.
Olga Maldonado also built her home in Farmersville. As a single mom, Olga
did not shrink away from difficult tasks and became known for her hard work and dedication on the
construction site. She spoke about how SHE has changed her life and how the experience building
her own home affected her 9 year-old son Aaron. "It has been very positive and good for my son.
He saw the hard work I put into the house and he is so proud of me. It has changed his life," Olga
said. That is clear. Aaron said that when he grows up he wants to work for Self-Help