Here’s a video from Mourad Chalal featuring some University Settlement Adult Literacy Program students and staff. Mourad is a Fulbright Fellow who comes to us from ASCA (Association des Centres Sociaux d’Aulnay-sous-Bois), one of our partners in France. He will be spending the next 6 months with University Settlement, and he is interested in learning everything he can about our work and communities. Here’s more from Mourad himself:
After 10 years of classical guitar teaching and a couple of years as a public relation agent I started to work with community members in a community centers organization in a city called Aulnay-sous-Bois situated in the outskirts of Paris. I have been working on group activities, social support, public information and most importantly raising awareness and educating the community on issues of discrimination.
Our programs target difficult urban and deprived areas of Aulnay-sous-Bois with the aim of promoting the community centers’ values and bolstering people’s abilities to affect change within their communities. In addition, our organization focuses on helping families and individuals achieve their wellness, education and cultural goals. I strongly believe that we fundamentally have more things in common than we have differences, and that it is important to cross race, gender, ethnicity, class and geographical borders. All forms of illegal discrimination must indeed be fought. The inhabitants of our disadvantaged neighborhoods are exposed to discrimination based on their origins in employment, housing, education, religious practices etc. My faith in the dignity of each individual leads me in my social commitments. That is why the anti-discrimination program I lead addresses the topic of citizenship and the fundamental values of the community centers which include: respect for diversity, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, freedom and human rights, and a focus on seeking solutions to empower vulnerable people.
The goal is to inform and raise awareness among community members and policy makers about how discrimination influences the daily life of its victims. The activities of the program in Aulnay-sous-Bois and abroad develop the capacity of minorities to develop their competencies in the fields of lobbying and advocacy. The orientation of our program is to promote the importance of discriminated people’s opinion in the process of decision-making at local, national and international levels. To achieve this, I do my best to run international exchanges between community members and organizations. Together we are stronger!