Recommended ReadsSeptember 17th, 2019

“For one moment it was OK to be me, for the first time in my 22 years of living.”

Keira’s journey includes many, many facets of trauma, including intimate-partner violence, homelessness, racist abuse and ongoing poverty, but it also shows incredible resilience and courage. I was deeply touched by it on a personal level.

From a professional perspective, it’s an example of the power of a personal story to get to know a life different to your own.

And it’s an example of how empowering it can be for someone to tell their story and contribute to a project designed to help people who’ve experienced similar challenges.

Keira’s story is part of a community research project that does research “with people, rather than on people”. Keira is a community adviser, using her personal, expert-level knowledge of the complexities of poverty to inform solutions.

100 Families is a Western Australian project based on the Auckland Family 100 project, developed to help bring about a deeper understanding of the experiences of families living in urban poverty. Family 100 is one of the most successful pieces of design research I’m aware of, having had a major policy influence on both the former and current prime minister of New Zealand.

I hope the Western Australian government is ready to pay attention to the stories of the 400 Perth families, 100 of whom are making time for fortnightly interviews over a year. There must be so many more powerful stories like Keira’s just waiting to be heard.

Recommended by Emma Blomkamp.

Keira, community adviser for the 100 Families project

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