Community Storytelling

Wisdom of Hardship: Awakening Optimism, Faith & Hope 

A CMCCF initiative, in partnership with our global contacts.

For millions of people around our world, facing and surviving hardship has given rise to enduring tales of courage in the face of improbable odds, and to a wisdom that can only emerge from difficulty, loss and suffering. In this series of stories, individuals share wisdom gained through their experiences with a view to inspiring all of us to become more resilient and able to build a better life in times of uncertainty and adversity.

The Wisdom of Hardship Circle’s DNA is as follows:

Our Vision:

Our aim is a world where collaboration and partnership are based on values that relate to the UN Sustainable Developmental Goals. We want to contribute positively to the wellbeing and health of future generations and all life on the planet.

Our Mission:

We we exist to co-create safe spaces in which strangers can be heard and be seen, as we engage with stories that hold wisdom and build community for the sake of individual and collective growth.

Our Shared Values:

Connection, Openness, Adaptability, Dignity, Humour and fun, and the Planet

Our Purpose:

Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as our call to action, our purpose is to form a self-organizing collective through which to explore and discover (together with and with others) the conditions for:

Every human being on earth to have the opportunity to experience well-being, contentment and peace;

Humanity to live in harmony with nature, the planet and all life on earth: and

Strangers seeking belonging to discover and strengthen their awareness of their core values, their sense of destiny and purpose, and their art of growth and development.

  • Callum Greenwood (U.K.)
  • Alka Kumar (Canada)
  • Ines Medeiros (Brazil)
  • Martin Itzkow (Canada) Facilitator and Convener
  • Fritz Plank and Nora Plank (Austria)
  • Catus Lee (Taiwan)
  • Gerlinde Mayr-Meissner (Austria)
  • Stephen Feldgaier (Canada)
  • Josh Ranson (U.K.)
  • Christopher Carr (U.K.)
  • Romina Farrell (Canada)
  • Ellie Willis (Canada)
  • Halyna Yarmolenko (Ukraine)
  • Vineesh Sathianathan (India)

If you wish to join us for our learning events, please contact us at:

We invite you to take a few moments to watch, listen and be inspired.

While our Wisdom of Hardship stories are filled with a sense of optimism, faith and hope, we also recognize that each story may produce a variety of feelings, thoughts and personal recollections of your own life experiences. To assist you in processing these stories, we invite you to listen to this meditation which has been created by Rhona Graham, a member of our team in Scotland.

Tor Eneroth, Director of Cultural Transformation for the Barrett Values Centre and a member of our team from Sweden, provides tips on self-reflection as you watch and listen to our various storytellers. It is our hope that these tips will assist you in learning from the stories and help to connect the lessons learned and values shared to your own life.

Diverse as we think we are, living through hardship is what we all share. Were it not for our special gift to overcome and learn from impairment and life-threatening experiences, we would be truly lost. This world-wide initiative enlists help and support from people who themselves suffered extreme hardship during their lives and have grown from it. This video introduces Ernst Gehmacher, now 94, who in his younger years opposed the Nazi dictatorship.

Born in Xinjiang, Selina was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in early childhood, forcing her to leave school in junior secondary and stay home. Determined to be independent, she began to study massage therapy and acupuncture in Hong Kong, an 80-hour train ride away. Selina’s story shows how perseverance, self determination, encouragement and the support of others helped her overcome challenges.

Here is the story of Omar, a young man who has lived through the chaos, violence and strife of civil war in his home country. Omar’s story demonstrates how resilience, strength and the words of his mother have guided him through both challenging times and his current life in Canada. Omar shares with us how his past experiences and his long-held values of compassion and understanding for others have contributed immensely to the person he is today.