You would never know how hard life has been for Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School first-year student Aleksandra Hussain. She has a bright smile and is upbeat and confident, yet humble.
Hussain’s parents met after her mother moved to the U.S. from Poland and her father from Pakistan. Unfortunately, the family was not in their home in Elizabeth long before her dad was deported back to Pakistan, leaving her mother to raise her and her younger sister alone.
Hussain’s mother was a nurse in Poland, but in the U.S. she was only able to get work cleaning and doing odd jobs. When it became harder to pay rent and put food on the table, the family visited soup kitchens for many of their meals.
“My mom always did her best to take care of me and my sister,” Hussain said. “Although I knew we were struggling, I only have good memories of visiting the soup kitchens. The workers let me and my sister pick out clothes and toys. It was a warm place to be.”
Eventually, her mother’s efforts were not enough. At seven, Hussain and her five-year-old sister Gloria, were taken out of their mother’s care and eventually placed in eight different foster homes and one women’s shelter.
When Hussain was 11, her mom went back…