New Al Jazeera English series asks: "What makes a community?”
FIND OUT ON THIS UNIQUE JOURNEY ACROSS THE GLOBE, TOLD ENTIRELY THROUGH LOCAL VOICES
A neighbourhood once considered Mexico City’s most dangerous. A Canadian suburb that is home to the largest Tibetan population outside of Asia. A Kenyan town that produces world-class runners. The northern chain of Scottish islands fighting to save their way of life.
In this special new four-part series, Al Jazeera takes viewers inside four unique communities to find out what makes them tick.
Told entirely through the voices of local identities, “A Sense of Community” explores the social fabric of each locality, discovering how residents maintain and adapt their way of life amidst 21st century challenges.
While these communities are unique, this innovative series explores some of the most pressing global phenomena that transcend borders and cultures.
Iztapalapa in Mexico City is notorious for its soaring crime rates and poverty. But the community is working hard to turn its fortunes around. The local government is investing in initiatives to foster social cohesion. As a result, Iztapalapa’s two million residents now have access to an array of free arts programmes, government services and sporting facilities. We meet the local heroes trying to combat the high levels of violence and turn their district into an urban utopia.
Al Jazeera then travels to Parkdale, Toronto’s vibrant inner-city neighbourhood which is home to Canada’s ‘Little Tibet’. From the 1970s, Tibetan refugees flocked to Canada, making the enclave a success story of multiculturalism. It also became a food mecca, with the diaspora setting up restaurants that serve steamed momo dumplings and Himalayan cuisine. However, today, rapid gentrification and Toronto’s sky-high rents threaten Parkdale’s unique social fabric. Amid China's increasing global influence, the Tibetan community is striving to preserve its past and maintain its unique traditions in an adopted land.
In a change of pace, “A Sense of Community” travels to Iten to find out how this small Kenyan town produces some of the world’s fastest runners. Renowned for their stamina, strength and speed, Kenyan runners have won 34 Olympic gold medals and countless marathons. Featuring stunning cinematography from across the high altitudes of the Rift Valley, we meet the aspiring athletes training in camps dotted across Iten. While it has been lauded as the perfect training ground, Iten is grappling with the murder of a female Olympian, reflecting a wider reckoning with gender-based violence in Kenya.
In the final instalment of the series, Al Jazeera heads to the Outer Hebrides, home to some of Scotland’s most remote villages, scattered across 15 islands. Despite its spectacular cliffs, pristine white sand beaches, wildlife and rich history, the local population is plummeting. Waves of emigration and an ageing society have halved the population in the last century. We meet the locals uniting to revive their homes - creating business opportunities, providing affordable housing and breathing new life into ancient traditions.
With a new episode broadcast weekly online and on Al Jazeera’s TV screens from October 20, “A Sense of Community” is a dynamic examination of identity and what it means to belong to neighbourhood communities in the 21st century.
A Sense of Community premieres internationally on Al Jazeera English at 22:30 GMT on October 20, 2022 and on the Al Jazeera YouTube channel.
A Sense of Community broadcast dates:
- Iztapalapa, Mexico: 20 October, 2022
- Little Tibet, Canada: 27 October, 2022
- Iten, Kenya: 3 November, 2022
- Outer Hebrides, Scotland: 10 November, 2022