We Are All One
Q&A’s with Aseel Mohammed Ali
Where are you from? What place do you currently call home and why?
I am originally from Baghdad, Iraq. I lived in Damascus, Syria for eight years and I moved to Halifax Nova Scotia in 2014. Home is where my family lives and where I find peace, that’s why I call Halifax home.
I love living by the ocean, it gives my soul peace and it’s a great place for meditation and imagination.
What community/communities are you part of ?
I belong to many communities all at once. First of all, is my family, where I am a daughter and sister, then my working community where I am an employee with a great organization (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia), then my Muslim community, where I find the guidance to become a good version of myself every day.
Being involved in all these communities has given me all the support and help to grow as a member of the community and to be a successful person.
What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies?
The first thing I am passionate about is writing, I love to write because it allows my mind to go to any place it wants with no restrictions. Writing, I’ve found, is a way to express myself in ways I may not otherwise be comfortable doing
Also, I love cooking. I started cooking when I was a teenager. During the war in Iraq, I had to spend most of the time at home. That’s why I found myself enjoying the art of cooking. Right now, I created a blog on Instagram and Facebook to share my recipes called (Sloy Recipe & Story).
How did the idea for this project come to you?
I am so imaginative and I am always full of ideas and projects. I was participating in a Multicultural Event to exhibit Iraqi Art and culture. During that event, I met many people from different communities and cultures so The question came to my mind (why don’t create a multicultural book to highlight the different communities in Halifax). I love writing and creating this book was one of the most exciting and interesting experiences I have had in my life.
What was your motivation behind this project?
When I discovered the #RisingYouth website, I decided to go ahead and do this project! I contacted the Rising Youth staff and they loved the idea. Then I filled out the application and went from there. I believe that nothing will happen so smoothly, there will be challenges, there will be some people who refuse to support you or do not believe in you. Since you are believing in yourself, and have confidence and good intentions you will be able to keep going even with all of these difficulties.
In retrospect, what was the impact of your project?
In the multicultural book project, I reached out to different communities and started a partnership with them. I encouraged one to two youth from each community to take the lead and write about their community and culture. So the impact was amazing, I met many wonderful people and I allowed youth to shine and to share their thoughts. Also, I learned a lot about designing and publishing a book. I allowed some newcomers to show their graphic design experience by creating the cover of the book.
What would you say to a youth who is thinking about doing a #RisingYouth project?
“The goal without a plan is just a wish”. You have to start planning for your project, have time management and deadlines, be flexible, and if something doesn’t work find another solution. Search about the project you are doing and learn more and gather information. Don’t speak much about your project, let your work speak for itself.
Anything else you would like to add?
17 youths were involved in the Multicultural Book project, from 12 different communities. A physical copy of the book “We Are All One” is now available in Halifax Public Library and it’s also available on the Blurb website as an (E-book).