• Dagma Koyi

Part II: Rags to Riches, Story of Lunkulu

Updated: Jan 10

It was not long ago that Lunkulu found himself with nowhere to live, twice losing his home to unfortunate circumstances, but with the bad luck came the determination never to be brought down by what he could not control.

Coming through the foster care system as an immigrant, Lunkulu’s journey faced many bumps and bruises along the way. From limited contact with his biological family to growing up in a predominantly white neighbourhood and meeting racism to isolation from his foster and birth families.

Lunkulu had already faced more adversity as a youth than the average person would ever face in their entire life. Around late 2020, Lunkulu faced another challenge, homelessness. “I was staying in a basement, living there for three or four years, the landlords were great, but they had to sell the house. After that, it was not easy to find a place, based on my budget,” said Lunkulu. While he wasn’t picky about the place he wanted to live, he found that the timing made things complicated, as the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak during this time.

Without many options, Lunkulu found himself staying at his friend’s place, sleeping on the couch. Unfortunately, this living arrangement was short-lived as he soon had to relocate once again to a homeless shelter. “I was there for about two months and a half. I kept my belongings at my friend’s place, and I worked two jobs, then I would go back home to sleep.”

Tirelessly working, Lunkulu eventually found another place to live, renting a room in a Brampton house. Once again, however, he was forced to move as the landlord had to sell her home. Lunkulu admitted that at this time, he struggled to find peace in his life; twice he was forced to relocate and face homelessness due to factors outside of his control.

Despite all of this, despite all the bad luck he seemed to have, he was not driven to despair and kept a positive mindset throughout all of this. “At the end of the day, you can’t blame the landlords, or blame the world, or blame God. It’s fine. There are some things you can’t control. But, you will learn, you will grow, and while you might be frustrated at the moment, you can try your personal best to keep your mind positive.”

Lunkulu also added that while his experiences dealing with homelessness were tough, he could adequately face it from the challenges he faced before and the challenges he learned from.

Soon enough, after connecting with R.E.S.T., Lunkulu was able to find a place that he is currently staying in right now. With the financial support of the R.E.S.T. program, Lunkulu has found housing security and, more importantly to him, support.

“It’s great just knowing that there are people out there that I can talk to, that they have your back, and they’re trying to go beyond and see what’s the best ability to help you based on the situation you’re in.”

It was undoubtedly a difficult road for Lunkulu to get to this point, but now he has a visible route to reach the things he dreams of. Currently, he is working towards becoming a director and producer for films, a passion he developed throughout his youth. He says that once he gets the finances, he plans on giving back to kids who are in a similar situation to him.

“One thing I would say to those who are in my position is that everything is temporary, it only has a beginning and an end, and eventually you’ll get out of the bad situation you’re into something better. Believe in that.”

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