Until Kafuba Donzon was 9 years old, he grew up in Ivory Coast, a country on the southern coast of West Africa.
Life is very different there, and one of the things that struck Donzon, even as a child, was how his family cared for his aging grandmother. “Being African, we don’t have nursing homes,” said Donzon, now the owner of iLove Home Care in Fort Wayne.
The quality of life seemed so much better for the elderly when they lived with family members.
“I saw how happy my grandma was,” he said, explaining how being around her family made a huge difference over living among strangers in a facility.
A familiar environment also helps people feel more comfortable, and that may lead to better health.
“Your body doesn’t do too well when you’re unhappy,” he said.
When he was 9 his family left the Ivory Coast as refugees, seeking more opportunity in the United States. They landed in Conners, Georgia.
He lived in Georgia until he was recruited by Fort Wayne’s Indiana Tech to join its new wrestling team.
He graduated with a biomedical engineering degree from Indiana Tech in 2014 and then went on to earn an MBA and master’s in health administration from the University of Saint Francis in 2019.
Then, in January 2019, he opened iLove Home Care, a business that provides non-medical in-home care needs. Services include personal care, companionship, respite care, cooking, medication reminders, light housework and running errands.
It allows people to live in their own homes, in a familiar environment, and financially is much cheaper than moving to a facility.
The business has 20 employees, excluding Donzon, and 19 clients.
“We train them,” Donzon said of the employees. “They don’t need certification.”
Prospective employees do get screened, however. iLove does a background check that includes looking at the sex offender and fraud databases, and investigating their work history. The business even tries to match caregivers’ and clients’ personalities.
The business has a Personal Service Agency license through the Indiana State Department of Health.
Donzon spends much of his time in Redwood City, California, where he works as an engineer on a long-term contract. That will be over at the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, Donzon’s brother, Kalifala Fofana, is managing the iLove business in Fort Wayne. He also recently hired another manager. Donzon comes home twice a month to help manage the business. “I have a great team that communicates with me every day so that we can tackle challenges and complete them,” he said. “Although I am not physically there, great communication makes a big difference in our day-to-day operations.”
Long term, Donzon hopes to expand the company to other states.
Currently, the business is housed in Leepoxy Plastics, 3706 Ferguson Road. The company is owned by Larry Lee, who is providing office space to Donzon to cut his overhead.
Lee said Donzon is living the American Dream and has really pulled himself up by the bootstraps.