We all want to contribute to the communities we live in. We want to help make a better life for our families and neighbours and use our talents and creativity to brighten someone's day.
But to fulfil our potential, we all need the right support and opportunities. We need to rely on the generosity and compassion of others. If we want to turn a tune into a symphony, we need an orchestra behind us.
By being there for our neighbours, including people who have arrived here from abroad, we can all create caring and prosperous communities.
Fadi and Selma
Salma Al Armachi arrived in Berlin in 2013. Back in Syria, she volunteered in a kitchen for orphans. Her son Fadi joined her a year later. In Germany, the two have built a catering business. It took some time for them to learn the language and find an apartment, but now things seem to be falling into place. In the future they hope to grow their business and employ middle-aged women who may otherwise struggle to find a job.
Building a community means having support and being in an encouraging environment that makes you productive. It is important as a prophylaxis to mental health diseases and depression.
- Fadi and Salma:
Munzer is 26 years old. He was studying civil engineering at the Tishreen University in Syria when war broke out. When he arrived Germany, he learned German and started a job as a graphic designer, where he’s been working for the last three years. Munzer also volunteers in a Berlin coding school and developed an app with friends that navigates its users through Germany’s bureaucracy. BureauCrazy, as the app is called, offers translations, explanations and city maps with the locations of the most important authorities, such as citizens' offices and job centers.
A strong community is a place where no one cares about where you’re from or what language you speak. It’s a place where everyone respects you and treats you the same.
Kussay Chichakly is a fashion designer from Damascus, Syria. He was forced to leave his country because of his sexual orientation. After working for several years in Dubai designing evening wear, including for celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, he moved to Berlin. Despite having an impressive portfolio Kussay could not find a job, so he decided to create his own brand. In the future he hopes to find a safe place for women that he met while volunteering on various social projects, to build something together and show people that they can “add a little extra touch to Berlin”.
A strong community is when people are willing to engage in activities that help other people’s lives. It improves everyone’s life quality and makes people less lonely.
Mohamed is a computer engineer from Baghdad. He is currently pursuing a Master of Social Science degree at the HU Berlin and helps young Iraqis in the development of their professional careers. Mohamed is also one of the founders and the project coordinator of Gemeinsamer Horizont e.V., a Berlin association that aims to redefine the concept of integration through training and development to help build a multicultural society.
A strong community is where all members work together to feel a sense of belonging and the desire to empower each other. It is important because it unites its members. Otherwise, without a strong community, separation, discrimination and prejudice cause hatred and distrust.
Show us how you grow your community. Or how someone else in your environment did something that put a smile on someone else’s face. Share your story using the hashtag #GrowYourCommunity.