RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Refugees- they came to this country with only the clothes on their backs, hoping for a better life. But making a life here was tough for the Neopany family- without a car to get to the doctor, store, or work. Until one organization stepped in to help.
The "Cars to Work" program doesn't just give cars away though. It assists buyers in getting safe cars for roughly a $1000, with affordable loans. For this family- it meant the chance- finally- to make it on their own.
Dadi Neopany considers going to work in this car a privilege.
"I cannot imagine that I can have a car in my country. I cannot imagine if I can drive, you know?" he said.
His family came here as refugees from Buthan with nothing-- counting on buses to get to work.
"I have to waste almost 5 hours every day to wait a bus. Sometimes I have to miss my job. Employer may fire me," said Neopany.
Until they heard about the Cars-to-Work Program. It takes donated cars and fixes them up, then links families like the Neopanys with the chance to buy an affordable car.
"Without cars, people lose their jobs and they're back on the welfare system where we don't want em," said Robert Cook.
Cook runs the program and says having a car can help a family flirting with poverty, make it.
"It keeps you in a job, advancing in a job if you can back and forth to work on time," he said.
For the Neopany family, a car brings stability to the family too.
"I got two babies, I have to go buy diapers, buy new foods and I got an old mom. I have to fill her prescription all the time," Neopany said.
One more chance, they say, to make the American dream-- theirs.
"It has given me a new way in my life so I can manage my life myself," he added.
Because of his car, Dadi Neopany says he can also go to school. He calls the opportunity "life changing". And that's not the only life this program's changing. Many of the cars are fixed up by inmates at Henrico County Jail East for free. The work gives them usable skills for when they are released.
Money from the car sales goes back into continuing the program. To see if you qualify for the program, contact Social Services. You can also donate your car to the program -- just call 804-788-0050.