I moved to the United States in 1998 right after high school. My family of five lived in a $35/month one bedroom apartment; the mold should have paid half of the rent. The apartment was dark since it only had two small windows. I won an immigration lottery that USCIS has every year. That year, I was one of 3,000 recipients of the immigration visa.
I moved to New York, where I lived for over three years, trying to better my family’s life. In New York, we were able to move to a better apartment with large two bedrooms for around $150/month. It still did not provide enough room for all us, but it was well lit and a lot healthier.
In 2001, I came to visit a friend and fell in love with Madison – it was spring time and I didn’t know the winters were this brutal. I decided to move here.
On Jan. 22, 2009, I suffered a heart attack. I was a week into my new insurance policy. My claims were declined due to a pre-existing condition. I ended up with a $60,000 health bill which led to me filing for bankruptcy. Right then I thought I never would be able to own a house. I felt that way until I attended a Habitat for Humanity meeting.
I met my wife in October 2009 after a visit to the home land. A year later she came to the United States. In less than a year, we were blessed with Salma (August 2011) and Rayan (September 2013).
Hope is what Habitat for Humanity gave us. To have a place that we can call home has been a dream for generations in our families. Thanks to God and Habitat for Humanity, that dream is becoming a reality.
We truly appreciate the work that everyone in Habitat for Humanity and all its volunteers do to better people lives, to better communities and to give our children a better future.
Sincerely yours, Hassan & Maryam