Finding Strength and Power in Our Own Stories

Our Program Coordinator, Marielle Ali, on the power of kids' own stories and the positive impact she has seen stories make on communities around the world through our work with international partner organizations.

  A LitKid at Center for Development in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, shares a story aloud   with her peers on World Read Aloud Day.

A LitKid at Center for Development in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, shares a story aloud with her peers on World Read Aloud Day.

LitWorld’s work allows each child we work with to “Be the Story.” Sharing stories, whether based on experiences or ideas and dreams, can not only empower us, but help us create change in ourselves, our communities, and ultimately our world.

As a new staff member of the programming team at LitWorld, I have been blown away by the power stories have in the lives of the children in our LitClubs. I often hear anecdotes of children who have surprised the adults they work with, expressing themselves and displaying courage and confidence through their writing and drawings. I would like to share two of many stories that were shared with me recently.

Un Mundo

 Ángel David, 10, published  Ramón Aprende Más Sobre El Perdón ( Ramon Learns about Forgiveness) in  Susurros del Cangrejal.  His story is about two friends who learn about forgiveness and unconditional friendship.

Ángel David, 10, published Ramón Aprende Más Sobre El Perdón (Ramon Learns about Forgiveness) in Susurros del Cangrejal. His story is about two friends who learn about forgiveness and unconditional friendship.

Un Mundo, a community-based organization in northern Honduras in the Cangrejal River Valley, has been a LitWorld partner since 2016. Like many of our partners, Un Mundo provides an array of programs. Some children participate in several. The LitClub members are also a part of Un Mundo’s Conexiones de Alfabetización (Literacy Connection Program). Earlier this year, they published a collection of 16 short stories, Susurros del Cangrejal. Un Mundo’s Executive Director, Denis, shared, (translated and edited from Spanish) “We are really surprised at the progress with [the children], when they [first started] they were afraid to take a pencil in their hand, and they are now able to express their thoughts and feelings.”

 Stories and artwork created by Un Mundo LitKids in Honduras.

Stories and artwork created by Un Mundo LitKids in Honduras.

Un Mundo is distributing the collection of stories in the communities they serve not only to share the children’s work but also inspire and awaken the 7 Strengths in everyone. They have plans to publish more short stories in the future.

 

Center for Development

Center for Development has been a LitWorld partner since 2013 and is based based in Gujarat, India. After participating in a story writing workshop last year, LitClub mentors published a collection of 400 short stories in Gujarati. These short stories are being used in the weekly LitClub sessions. Below is one of the 400 stories translated in English:

 

True Friendship Stands the Test of Time

Once upon a time, in a small village there were two close friends named Ram and Shyam. They were always seen together, playing, studying and exploring.

After few years, they grew up into young men; and Shyam had to move to a faraway city for work and Ram remained in the village helping his family in farming.
Many years later Shyam returned to his native village; the first thing he did was to pay a visit to his best friend Ram and then meet all his childhood friends. When Ram and Shyam met after such a long gap, their joy knew no bounds. They felt the warmth of true unbreakable friendship; and they felt a sense of belonging that stood the test of time.
 

Reflecting on the stories from Un Mundo and Center for Development, it amazes me how something as simple as writing our own story can be so freeing and empowering. As our partners all over the world find the power in their own story, it inspires me to do the same.