My Story

Full Interview (27:22)


I grew up in Iran. My late teenage years coincided with one of the most historic events of the country, namely the Islamic Revolution, that turned the lives of many upside down. I had gone to one of the best high schools of the city in hopes of creating a solid foundation for my university studies, but once I graduated, I was not permitted to any university for being subject to discriminations due to my faith. People who belong to Baha’i faith have been deprived of higher education in that country ever since the revolution! Both my sister and I graduated from high school and there was no perspective of any future for us in that country. Leaving the country wasn’t easy by any means, either. Finally, we both made the tough decision to leave the country.  We had to do it; it was for our future.

We arrived in Brazil in 1987, leaving our dear family and everything we knew behind, starting a life from ground up that included learning a whole new language (Portuguese) we did not even know a word of!   With inflation through the roof, we had to find a way to survive as well as build our future.  Luckily, we both knew how to sew and for that, no language skills was really needed.  As we began working in that field in order to make a living, we finally became familiar with the language.
After lots of hard work, tenacity and persistence, we overcame challenges life threw at us, and in 2004, we both graduated from university.


My Advice

1) Whenever one faces challenges and needs to overcome it, she/he has to start from somewhere. The somewhere is the best alternative available. One needs to open her/his eyes and look around to find it.

2) There are times when we find so many challenges against us that seem impossible to be overcome. But you can and should tackle them one by one. Take one step at the time.

3) Set priorities in your life and plan your life according based on your priorities and on the resources accessible to you. Managing your financial life, especially when money is short, is very important. Use your resources wisely. Never spend more than what you have in your pocket.

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I’m so encouraged by your perseverance to overcome prejudice and move to two new countries- that would be hard to do! You’re a strong person to step outside of your comfort zone and pursue your dream. I think it’s amazing that you know three languages. Congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished!

Gary Rogers says:

Thanks again Jaleh for sharing your story with your words and video. I love that you want to serve others in life. That isn’t always the norm with people. Keep doing what you’re doing. I appreciate your time and it was great getting to know you too. Thanks again, Gary.