We all enjoy a good story even if what we define as a “good story” differs significantly from person to person. If we can tell stories, we can get our message across more clearly and in a more engaging manner, but what constitutes a natural storyteller? What if we can tell the forgotten & untold history/tradition/Cultures in Sri Lanka through stories? With this in mind International Youth Alliance for Peace Along with it’s North , Central , and Eastern Provincial team in Sri Lanka initiated the #Storytellers4Peace supported by Internews Sri Lanka.
Storytelling is all about speaking your heart out, blending a past incident with some emotions, crisis and finally a resolution, sustaining energy all the way from the start till the end.
Story telling is a platform where the story teller connects with the listener in a very interactive way. It can happen at any circumstance; formal or informal and or be it at a mediating base that serves social purposes by unveiling the words of wisdom. Narrating a story need not necessarily be an article. It can also be in the form of a video clip, photographs or even podcasts. Introduction
Storytellers4Peace is a project to build a network of writers, narrators, video & audio pod-casters who create individual & collective stories in the form of articles, and video & audio podcasts. These storytellers have written maximum of 1 stories each within the first 3 months and then on a voluntary basis to collect stories from their communities and around them. This blog by the name Storytellers4Peace collects and publishes stories from all over Sri Lanka in Tamil and Sinhala and English(translated) about stories of history-tradition-culture – Forgotten and untold. This project happened in Kandy, Batticaloa and Jaffna.
International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP) in collaboration with Internews Sri Lanka initiated the project Storytellers4Peace and organized 3 two-day workshops with IYAP it’s North , Central , and Eastern Provincial teams in Sri Lanka. First workshop was held at the Kandy American corner on the 18th and 19th of October 2019 with the IYAP central team, The 2nd storytellers workshop for the selected youth from the Northern province was hosted on the 19th & 20th October 2019 in Jaffna and the third workshop was held in the eastern province on the October 25th – 26th 2019.
This is the first project solely on story telling initiated and hosted by IYAP. We are hoping to bring forward stories based on our culture, history and traditions using one of the four media sources; articles, videos, photography or podcast. Expressing her views on the program Miss Micheal maheshwary, Nuwaraeliya District Coordinator, stated:
“I knew nothing about storytelling before I participated in this workshop. Hence, I was very keen to acquire the knowledge of something new. This workshop taught me that all of us tend to forget our history. Therefore, I was so eager to search and study what surrounds us. We keep appreciating other countries but we do fail to admire the beauty in our motherland and I felt this badly on the second day when some photographs by Mahesh Fernando was demonstrated.”
According to our Provincial Director – Central Province Miss. Thamilchelvi, Sritharan ” It has been a great opportunity for the youth to learn on story telling which disappears among the youth community thought it used to be a medium to express the history, tradition and culture of a community. Thus, the space has provided a chance to bring the untold and forgotten stories in various medium. Thank you IYAP”
Shanthakumar, a determined participant at our workshop expresses his experience as “I had no clue about story telling before I stepped into this place and I realize the importance for the youth in engaging in workshops like this. I learnt the interconnections between the term history, culture and traditions. Not that all, I even got the opportunity to learn how to create a story and tell a story on these three key terms based on the aspect of storytelling. Furthermore, I acquired a complete knowledge on the parts and functioning of a camera in order to frame in your story. Finally, we got a great opportunity from IYAP to bring forth our story on the chosen topic.”
This event was an excellent opportunity to witness the efforts of a group of young individuals who have been committed towards enriching their knowledge on the culture, history and tradition of the island and conveying to the community. Mr Peter D’Almeida , the Keynote speaker spoke on How stories become the game-changer in spreading peace and also had award winning Sri Lankan Actress Miss. Niranjani Shamugaraj and Miss Gangulali de Silva, one of the two Sri Lankan Youth Delegates to the United Nations, for the year 2019/2020 as special guests gracing the event.
Impact and Outcomes
Storytellers4Peace is a project to build a network of writers, narrators, video & audio pod-casters who create individual & collective stories in the form of articles, and video & audio podcasts. These storytellers are expected to write maximum of 1 stories each within the first 3 months and then on a voluntary basis to collect stories from their communities and around them. This blog by the name Storytellers4Peace will collect and publish stories from all over Sri Lanka in Tamil and Sinhala and English(translated) about stories of HISTORY – TRADITION – CULTURE – Forgotten and untold. These stories under these themes will be in written format or on a video & audio format (podcast). Initial stories would be collected and written or recorded by the trained Youth themselves.
Joining hands with the program, youth from all three provinces learnt basics on storytelling which covered the key factors of a story and its component order through presentations and animations. The most productive hours included realizing the consequences of conveying a wrong story.
The workshops were conducted by the Executive Director & President of IYAP providing a platform for the participants to share their perspectives on History, Culture and traditions, given their multi-ethnic backgrounds. The first day of the series was thus concluded with the diligent involvement of the youth which unfolded the nation’s hidden admiration’s of the central hills, framing it into a series of fascinating stories. The second day of the series was carried out with an interesting session on professional photography and videography lead by Mahesh Fernando. The participants were very keen as the majority of them were unaware of how to handle a professional camera. Thus, the session was conducted in detail from the basics, following that we demonstrated some photographs by Mahesh Fernando that expressed emotions and gave life to bricks and walls.