Meet Svetlana

It’s Uzbekistan in the year 2000 and anti-Semitism is on the rise.Svetlana_2Two Jewish professionals and their children, ages 13, 8, and 1, receive green cards to come to the US.  They speak no English and have no idea how they will make a living, but they leave with hopes for a better life.

Settling in New York, the mother, a bookkeeper in Uzbekistan, conquers the English language, even earning a BA in Business Administration while working and raising a family. The father, a Jewish communal professional in Uzbekistan, finds a blue-collar job handling inventory for a retail store.

In 2014, their middle child, Svetlana, is 21 and working towards a BA in Accounting at St. John’s University. Her father insists she not graduate from college with debt, so they explore options to help pay for her education. Through a friend, they learn about the Hebrew Free Loan Society and its student loan program.

The $7,500 interest-free loan that Svetlana’s parents received from HFLS made all the difference. With her bachelor’s in hand, Svetlana pursued a master’s to further her career. This time, she turned to HFLS herself, borrowing $10,000 interest-free. Payments were an easily affordable $25 a month while she was in school.

Today, Svetlana has a new husband, a new baby, and a full-time position with a major tax and auditing firm beginning in January. Without HFLS, this American dream might never have happened.