An Asylum Seeker’s Journey to Self-sufficiency
By Iuliia Statnyk, Loan Officer
Serhii and his family crossed the U.S.- Mexico border in 2021 and sought asylum. Originally from Ukraine, the family spent about a month at the border until they found a sponsor in the Slavic community who helped them find housing in Sacramento.
While waiting for a work permit, the family survived on their savings. Serhii has a Computer Science degree and worked as a system administrator in Ukraine. After waiting so many months to receive their work authorization, Serhii could not find a job in his profession despite his experience.
At first, he started working for an online food delivery company after receiving his driver's license. He worked full-time and even on weekends to save as much as possible. His old car often broke down and required additional expenses for repair. Though he needed a more reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle, he could not secure a loan through traditional financial institutions.
When Serhii first learned about Opening Doors' micro-lending program for immigrants and refugees, he gladly took advantage of this opportunity. The family was expecting a baby then, and a stable income was their top priority. In addition, the subsidized interest rate made the loan terms very appealing.
Serhii applied for a loan and was approved for $7,000. He was able to purchase a more recent model and fuel-efficient vehicle. Serhii could concentrate more on his work as the household obtained a second car. A flexible work schedule allowed him to study to build his career pathways and future employment prospects.
Today, Serhii speaks about his life in the U.S. with a proud smile. "In just two years, I have secured a stable income for my family and enrolled in courses to help me with future employment. Coming to Opening Doors opened many more opportunities for me."
Serhii's story is the story of many immigrants and refugees who come to the U.S. seeking safety. Despite leaving difficult circumstances and facing new ones, many thrive and find stability to support their family.