It’s a realtor’s job to help their clients find the perfect home. Dane County realtors Siba Alidu and Lindsay Hagens also help build them for people in need.
Lindsay Hagens grew up in Sun Prairie. The daughter of school teachers, she was taught from a young age that no child should ever be left behind. Hagens watched as her parents volunteered with Doctors Without Borders to help build wells and schools in underprivileged communities.
Her husband Siba Alidu had a very different upbringing in Ashaiman, Ghana–a small village like the ones Hagens’ family helped. He grew up in a home with no running water, no showers, and a hole in the ground for a toilet. A family in Ghana still lives in that house today.
When Alidu turned 18, a woman helped him buy a ticket to America so he could make a better life for himself and then return to Ghana to make one for his family, too. He arrived in New York with $100 in his pocket.
Soon, Alidu landed in Madison, where he opened a cellular store and ran into Hagens. The couple has been married for 15 years and have three kids together.
Ten years ago, they added something else to their family–a real estate company.
“We started buying homes, renovating them, and renting them out,” Hagens recalled. “We then took it up a notch and started to build condos, houses, and apartment buildings. Condos are a piece of the housing market that not a lot of people focus on anymore, and we found a love for them.”
Hagens and Alidu’s real estate sales have been strong. The couple recently developed a new Madison subdivision called Jannah Village, the Islamic word for “paradise.” A mix of 49 single-family homes, four duplex lots, and 237 apartments, the couple used the profits from that project to fund several humanitarian projects in Alidu’s hometown.
“Our projects here help our projects there,” Hagens explained. “Without building, investing, and creating wealth here, we cannot help there.”
“Our goal isn’t to live a luxurious lifestyle. It’s to help as many people as possible,” she added.
Right now, the couple is working on three major projects in Ghana: a 16-unit apartment complex, a school for about 500 children, and a hospital. And breaking ground halfway around the world is even more complicated than you might think.
“When I mentioned the systems being different in Ghana, one thing they do not do is finance projects. All projects are built with cash,” Hagens said. “So, what happens is we will build one floor and people will move into that floor while we’re waiting for enough money to build the next floor.”
Meanwhile, they’re already planning for another massive undertaking: an orphanage.
“Siba’s sister and brother died as young adults, leaving behind five children that his mother, who is now in her 90s, stepped up to help take care of,” Hagens explained. “There are a lot of incidents like this in Ghana because the country doesn’t have a foster system. You’ll see young young children selling anything they can on the streets just to buy their next meal.”
Hagens and Alidu hope to finish these projects as soon as possible: the people of Ghana need help now, but they’re still trying to raise enough money. The couple has created a GoFundMe page for anyone who is able to help.
What keeps them going?
“Every day when we are exhausted, we remember our why,” Hagens said. “We are fortunate enough to be able to help. We are blessed.”
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