Voices and images build powerful women's stories
“Digital storytelling is widely recognized as a pioneering technique that allows ordinary people to share their stories from unique, personal perspectives. It acts as a self‐healing tool for storytellers and empowers them by giving them a voice and it is being used across the world, to heal, empower and to create awareness”, says Huda Safraz when presenting a paper on the experience that took place with grassroots women in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2011.
Huda, a young engineer from the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, learned this technique during the 2nd GEM Exchange that took place in Indonesia, in November 2009. She decided to use digital storytelling in a workshop with women survivors of violence at the grassroots level and create a website where these stories would be uploaded and shared with a wide audience.
The workshop took the name of Subh‐e‐Nau, an Urdu word for “a new dawn”, and in a participatory process it aimed to encourage the creativity of rural women who had suffered gender violence. They had little knowledge of information and communication technologies and in some cases were semi or non-literate, but organisers considered that participation in this workshop would empower them by using ICTs for self-expression and communication with others.
A website was created to upload workshop activities and results and all the digital stories. An evaluation panel was invited to comment on these productions. This panel formed by women and men from the media and ICT fields appreciated “the efforts that the participants had put in to learning the technological tools for representing their stories. They also admired the work of women survivors of violence and how each story creator had presented the major social problems in a much focused manner.” The site, named Subh-e-Nau after the workshop is presented on the internet as a “digital story album, for learning, action and change”.
More information: http://www.cle.org.pk/subhenau/workshop.html.
Illustration: postcard created at the workshop
by Dafne Sabanes Plou