A South Australian couple who fled war-torn Africa have rejoiced after winning one of the state’s biggest lotteries, taking home a life-changing $4million.
Aristide and Esther Mboneye, who met and married after arriving in Australia separately, bought a ticket for the Hospital Research Foundation group home lottery and couldn’t believe their eyes when they realized that they had chosen the winner.
Originally from Burundi in East Africa, Esther’s parents fled to Congo in the 1970s where she was born. However, growing unrest in the region forced the family to rethink their future and make the uncertain journey to Australia in 2005.
Aristide also fled civil war in Burundi in 2011.
Andrew Costello called the couple live on SAFM breakfast radio, telling them they had won $1million each in cash and the deed to a fully furnished $3million mansion in Henley Beach, on Adelaide’s waterfront.
“You’re kidding Cosi,” said Aristide.
The couple, who both work in the healthcare industry, said they want to give back to the community. Aristide is a disability support worker, while Esther works as a nurse.
“Our goal wasn’t to win this…it was just to give back to the community,” Aristide said.
The Hospital Research Foundation Group is a charitable organization which raises funds for medical research and the improvement of facilities in hospitals
“We’ve been here since birth, supporting projects in pregnancy health, ultrasound training, improving IVF success rates, newborn equipment and more. yet,” its website reads.
“We are here at the end of life, helping to provide high quality care in palliative care, eldercare and much-loved companion animals, art and music therapy.”
The couple plan to use the life-changing transportation to visit family in Burundi.
“I still can’t believe it…why us?” … I feel like I don’t deserve this,” Esther said on Sunrise Friday morning.
“I’m just trying to take it all in. It’s so beautiful.”