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The Arab connection: How Dearborn's Hussein Hachem is connecting Arabs to their community

The Arab connection: How Dearborn's Hussein Hachem is connecting Arabs to their community
The Arab connection: How Dearborn's Hussein Hachem is connecting Arabs to their community 04:52

DEARBORN, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - If you have not met anyone who is a city commissioner, education advocate or entrepreneur, then you probably have not met Hussein Hachem.

Hachem immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon in 2007 in pursuit of the American Dream of becoming a doctor.

"The plan was to come here for a year and go back," Hachem says.

However, things did not go as planned when Hachem moved to Dearborn, a city home to the largest population of Arab Americans in the country. It was a foreign place to him that, just in a couple of weeks, became his favorite place to be.

"The moment I see "Welcome to Dearborn," it's a sign of relief, you know. I'm back home here. It is home now," Hachem says.

As a newcomer, Hachem only spoke Arabic when he arrived to this country as a teen. The language barrier made it increasingly more difficult to stay connected with his community, find resources for school, and stay informed about daily news.

"I was always looking for someone to give me information, to give me resources. It was hard to get the resources," Hachem says.

Amid those challenges, Hachem was working three jobs to make ends meet. While his goal was initially to become a neurologist, Hachem soon found his true calling, which would help Arab immigrants just like him.

"Instead of pursuing a career in the medical field, I started an educational company, and all of the sudden, I started a media organization, and here we are. I'm now considered a journalist, not a doctor. What a difference," Hachem says.

Hachem began a tutoring company called Educare Student Services to help give students a quality education at an affordable price.

But for Hachem, students were not the only ones in need of his assistance; there was also a need for local daily news Arabic programming that could help folks stay connected with their community, especially Arab immigrants.

That's why Hachem launched his own online Arabic platform, the What's Up Media Network.

"The goal to start Whats Up Media is to give information to people who need it so it can change their lives," Hachem says.

It is a platform that not only features daily news briefs in Arabic, but also live interviews, cooking shows, food tours, and a variety of subjects highlighting people, entrepreneurs, their achievements, and the resources they offer.

"A lot of Arab media was more directed towards the Middle East. They talk about what happen in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, but nobody was talking in Arabic about what was happening here at home. So that's why I started What's Up Media," Hachem says.

With nearly half a million total followers across all his platforms, Hachem says he has received his fair share of feedback from folks of all ages and all over the country.

"Before you, we used to make mistakes and huge mistakes, and we used to know about our mistakes after we were done. We couldn't do nothing about it. Now, because of your shows, we are actually able to avoid those mistakes, those deadly mistakes that we used to make," Hachem says while referring to the comments of an entrepreneur he interviewed during his latest Chicago food tour.

The ultimate assurance that Hashem is on the right path came from a stranger he met on that very food tour - a stranger who told Hashem that he begins every day and ends every night with a prayer for him and his family.

"When someone you don't know, that you never met him in your life, is telling you, I pray for you five times a day, and he is not getting anything in return, I got emotional. That's worth millions of dollars. It's priceless," Hachem says.

"For me, it's like, it reinsured me that I'm doing the right thing. You know what I mean. Just keep the course and keep doing what I'm doing and do even more," Hachem says.

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