Meet “Close To Home” Storyteller Rooha Haghar

When Rooha Haghar was 12, her family—fleeing religious persecution in Iran—boarded a bus and left everything behind. On Tuesday night, December 19, come hear Rooha’s eye-opening tale of coming to America with only dreams and grit.

High school junior Rooha Haghar is a Vickery Meadow EAGLE Scholar who hopes to one day attend the University of California, Berkeley. An active artist and photographer, Rooha was instrumental in seeing Dallas’ #EducationIsNotACrime public mural become a reality—and her “Humans of Vickery Meadow” project was recently featured at Love Field Airport.

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Meet “Close To Home” Storyteller Maya Modi

Maya Modi loved her job as a high school art teacher. But when a doctored video from her classroom went viral—everything changed. On Tuesday, December 19, we’ll join Maya as she relives the roller coaster ride that became her life. 

Maya Modi is an entrepreneur, artist, and dedicated animal advocate. When she is not painting in watercolor, she works with Dallas Pets Alive! to foster kittens and make the city a no-kill haven for animals. Maya shares her stories in order to educate the public on issues that are often not thought about.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Ghazwan Altaie

Ghazwan Altaie

After receiving a death threat, Ghazwan Altaie fled his home country of Iraq. And this week, the former businessman will take the Oral Fixation stage to talk about why he decided to become a humanitarian in “Destination America.”

Ghazwan Altaie is a humanitarian from Iraq, who works with the Collateral Repair Project, a grassroots effort to bring assistance to refugees and other victims of war. After spending 10 years as a refugee in Jordan, Ghazwan arrived in the United States in January, with his wife and three young children.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Peter Thiong


His journey from “Lost Boy of Sudan” to American citizen was a long and hard one, but Peter Thiong’s father taught him from an early age that “beyond hardship is joy.” This month, he’ll take the Oral Fixation stage to talk about the great hardships of his youth in “Destination America.”

Peter M. Thiong, one of the leaders of The Lost Boys of the Sudan, has called North Texas home for 14 years. Peter completed BS/AIM at UT Dallas, an MBA at Texas A&M-Commerce and studies Management and Science at DCCCD. He is a husband, father, homeowner, and employee at UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Belma Islamovic


Belma Islamovic, lover of the smell of fresh air & flowers, will make her debut on the Oral Fixation stage in “Lost in Translation” Friday night!

Belma Islamovic was born in Mostar, Bosnia in 1974 and has two younger sisters.  Her formal education was paused in her junior year of high school by the civil war in her nation.  At age 18, she became a Medivac’d refugee in Abilene, Texas.  She now lives with her mother and father in Richardson. 

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Jean Congera


Jean Congera is set to make his debut on the Oral Fixation stage for “Lost in Translation.”

Jean Congera was born in exile in Rwanda.  His parents fled from Burundi in 1972.  He has been in the United States since 2006 thanks to the International Rescue Committee.  He is a Christian and evangelist.  He is happily married with one beautiful daughter.  Jean’s calling is to help people in need, especially refugees. 

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