People who have gone through crisis and have experienced hardships often turn to help others in similar situations and circumstances. They have first-hand knowledge and experience of what it means to be in this crisis or perpetual context of stress and trauma and are therefore familiar to the shared struggle. This familiarity offers contextualized help and support as well as understanding to underlying circumstances that outside support efforts may not be well aware of.

Hiyam Alyan is the executive Director of Al Saraya Centre, a community centre in the Old City of Jerusalem. She works with communities struggling under military occupation who live in very constrained spaces and lack economic and social opportunity. In this video, Hiyam talks about an initiative where local women offered support to women in their community, all of whom share experiences of the same context.


In this video, Aisha talks about how the individualistic mentality affects the community as a whole and the circumstances surrounding it that had allowed this shift from the communal to the individual. As well, Aisha talks about the challenges of pushing the community to return back to traditional communal work.


In your e-Portfolio, answer the following questions:

  • Going back to thinking about your own initiative, what personal link do you have with the work you are aiming to accomplish? What kind of experiences and knowledge do you have that you think are relevant to your work?
  • Can you give an example from your community and daily life where a problem could have been solved by communal efforts rather than individual work?