Texas Connects Us: Refugee Children Share Their ‘American Dream'

A new art exhibit at Dallas' NorthPark Center is meant to make people stop and think.

The collection, called "My American Dream," displays drawings and paintings created by refugee children living in North Texas. Each one depicts a child's dream for his or her future.

Mia Cheptene, 12, is originally from Maldova.

She drew a hot-air balloon festival.

"I would like to travel the world to see different things, and this is one of them," Mia said.

Dibora Weldemichile, 9, is from Ethiopia.

She drew herself singing on stage, even though it's not what she intended to draw.

"I made the line too long because I was talking to somebody, and I was like, 'Why can't I make another dream out of it?' So out of nowhere I made a dream of me being a singer," Dibora said. "It makes me happy, because I turned an accident into a big purpose for me."

Leonid Regheta organized the art exhibit through his work with Project: Start, a refugee resource center in Dallas.

Regheta, a former refugee who came to American from Ukraine when he was 15, wanted to use art as a way to help children see their potential.

"I tell them, 'America belongs to you. You need to have an American dream,'" Regheta said.

The project has helped 38 children, including 10-year-old Humayan Naseri, who now sees a future beyond the war he fled in Afghanistan.

"I want to be a pilot," Humayan said.

"Our dreams [are] what we're going to have when we're older," Dibora said

Regheta hopes the children's artwork will make others stop and think about the dreams we all share as Americans.

"Only a mile away from this spot, there are thousands of refugee families living, dreaming, trying to achieve some of the things that other people walking through corridors of this mall already have," Regheta said.

The exhibit is located in the corridor between Bread Winners and La Duni and will be on display through Aug. 22.

Contact Us