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Hammers and nails will replace laptops and books this weekend for more than seventy students and faculty in the UT College of Business Administration. The Tennessee Organization of MBAs (TOMBA) will build their tenth Habitat for Humanity house on Saturday, September 29.

The blitz starts at 7:30 a.m. at 3340 Thomas Street in Knoxville’s Lonsdale neighborhood. The team will be building over the next seven to nine weeks.

“Volunteering our time for Habitat is great for our MBA program,” said TOMBA member Jocelyn Gatewood. “We can come back in a few years and see that we changed some family’s life in a really big way.”

This year’s build is for African immigrants, Lazaro and Anna Ndiragora, their five children, and Anna’s mother. Lazaro has worked at GCA services since 2007 and Anna works for Aramark. The family completed Habitat’s required 500 “sweat equity” hours while working full-time. Hours are earned by attending classes provided by Habitat.

“The budget classes were our biggest challenge,” said Lazaro. “We had to change how we managed our money. We realized with a home, we would have to think about the future.”

The first walls of the Ndiragoras’ new home are scheduled to go up around 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

TOMBA is a student-run organization for full-time MBA students and faculty.

For more information about the College of Business Administration, visit the website.


Michael Ehrhardt (865-603-3210, ehrhardt@utk.edu)