This story is a part of a series we are publishing called “Habitat Family Stories”. They’re the stories of our partner families from all walks of life in varying stages of their journey. Many of them have been in their Habitat homes for close to a decade. Get to know the families we work alongside by checking the “family story” tag.
Vladimir and Svetlana were both born in Moldova, a small country located in Southeastern Europe. They each grew up in small towns with Vladimir’s family living in a three bedroom apartment in the south and Svetlana’s family in a nice house in the northern part of the country. In the summers they each spent vacation time in their grandparent’s villages, helping them with their small farms.
Their childhoods were marked by dramatic local and international events. Moldova is a former USSR satellite republic and as a satellite nation the citizens of Moldova were forced to live under the authority of Russian rulers for more than 50 years. Vladimir and Svetlana were just kids when the Berlin wall fell and the Soviet empire started to collapse. They were witnesses to history as Moldova experienced the painful process of becoming a self-governing state. As a young man, Vladimir was involved in different student volunteer activities. Later, he became part of civil communities advocating for freedom of speech, the freedom of information act and the impartiality and objectivity of the media.
In 2007, Vladimir and Svetlana met, fell in love, and two years later decided to go through life together. Although Moldova cherishes its freedom it has struggled to recover economically so many Moldavians look for opportunity outside the country. Svetlana and Vladimir came to the realization that there was no future for their family in Moldova. When they learned in May 2010 that they had been selected by the State Department to be granted United States visas, they jumped at the chance. They passed the interviews and immigrated in December of that year. A couple months later their son was born into their family.
They decided to settle in Seattle because they had an acquaintance who lived here. Within a few months of arriving in America Vladimir had an entry level job. He soon worked his way up the ladder of a private security company at SeaTac Airport. He also chose to serve his new country as a member of the Army National Guard. Svetlana continued her education and started a technical program to become a dental assistant.
Before their participation in the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership program, they lived in a small apartment in Federal Way. Although it was a nice apartment complex they did not feel it offered a community environment they could be a part of, but were dedicated to raising their family in Seattle.
Vladimir and Svetlana learned of Habitat when a friend of theirs showed them a house that was rehabbed by Habitat. For them, owning their own home so soon was a dream come true. With the announcement of Svetlana’s pregnancy with their second child, this was an ideal time for Vladimir and Svetlana to settle into a permanent house with a big back yard, perfect for the kids.
Overall, Vladimir and Svetlana finished the Habitat program with more than a house. “Our Habitat experience has been very rewarding. Besides the opportunity to own our home and all the training, we have met many wonderful and supportive people. The education courses were really interesting, and I learned a lot – particularly my wife. Meeting the people that would be my neighbors, meeting other habitat homeowners from other communities, I really enjoyed those classes. I was really grateful and I told – and I am going to keep telling – everyone I meet or I know about the courses of maintenance and repairs and about Habitat Homeowner and Repair Programs… We look forward to helping other families get the same opportunities we have by working with Habitat for Humanity on other projects in the future.”