Sara’s Story

HOW ACC TRANSFORMED HER LIFE AND HELPED HER BREAK FREE FROM INTEREST

My name is Sara Bawany and I want to share my story because I want you all to hear from a real life student who has benefited from ACC and what it has done for me.

A lot the students who have been recipients of these loans are medical students, PA students, people with really high end careers, mashallah. For me, a lot of the students I was studying and working with had their parents fund them, and that is wonderful. And since that is the norm in the Muslim community, a lot of students like myself get overlooked. That is where ACC stepped in.

I come from a family where it’s not your traditional Muslim family. My parents are divorced, and when that happened, it took a lot of money out of the family. So we were stuck in a situational poverty. And I am not a slacker student. I worked hard and became valedictorian of my class, despite all of that. I went to college on scholarship for my undergrad, but then it came time for my Masters program, which is in social work. If you know anything about mental health, there is not much funding for social work. I remember when I got into grad school, I was really excited. But then it came time to figure out my finances for grad school and I had nothing! And that is when I realized I would have to take out a loan, and I was really scared as this was a new process for me. And the worst thing that could happen, happened.

Me and my mom researched to find a loan that deferred the interest, but we wound up taking out a loan by accident which accumulated interest from the moment I had it. The first half year of my grad program, I was upset and I cried because as practicing Muslims, we don’t want to take out a loan on interest. To be a student, try to work, and live with this guilt and pressure was extremely hard for me. And like I said, a lot of the students in the Muslim community don’t understand because their parents fund them; they have a stable family and have the money to pay for school, and I did not have that. I was always made fun of. “Sara doesn’t like to hang out with us, she always has to work.” So I was socially excluded in many ways because of this loan. This was the reality of what happened. It contributed to a lot of depression and anxiety. In fact, I almost got kicked out of my program because my professors did not think I could handle it. They did not understand why I was depressed, working all the time or half asleep in class.

I prayed for something to come along and just relieve me of this burden. And then I found ACC. I can honestly say that when you pray for something, Allah answers it. ACC helped me pay off the majority of the loan I had, so all i had was the ACC loan which did not have any interest attached to it.

I really want to say that my story is just an example of how this money goes somewhere substantial. You aren’t just donating money that you will never ever see again. You are investing in the future of this Ummah, the Muslim community.

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