Empowering through storytelling - A Collective Story from Dilbeek
Already before arriving, I lost track of time completely. Outside it was dark. The building seemed empty. No signs of civilisation in the wide surroundings. Was it even 2015? I started to question everything, but most of all myself. It wasn't the first time for me to feel as if I ended up in a story. A horror story, it seemed. I was the main player as well as the audience, but the director was nowhere to be found.
Then somebody opened the door: 'Welcome to your training course, Empowering through Storytelling!' From that moment on, the horror story turned into one of the most memorable experiences of my year. Why? Let me tell you!
“Hello! It's Mostafa from Development No Borders youth organisation from Egypt.
He continues. “My story started in October when I was invited to join the Facebook group of the Storytelling Training Course. It seemed to be a desert! Nobody is talking, nobody is posting … And nobody is replying to my posts or breaking the ice. I started to get worried … am I going to lose a week of my life in that silence?”
I see! I wasn't the only one feeling lost an confused in the beginning! I'm curious, how does it continue?
“Then I got to the Don Bosco hostel in Dilbeek, Belgium. 'Are you the guy who is posting stories in the group?', said somebody at the entrance. 'Yes, it's me', was my reply. Oh, finally there are some living people here. Day by day it started to change. They are nice people here … and they can speak too, thank God …”
Haha! This is how I know him. What a flavoured person he is. We all brought our personalities to Dilbeek, and we created a unique group of storytellers.
“During the different activities each person started to get out what he or she has in their heart, passing through the Hero's Journey, to the Digital Storytelling and Story Dramatising, until we reached our peak point.”
I can hear you thinking. That doesn't really sound like a regular place! You're absolutely right. Our trainers weren't afraid of stepping out of the ordinary when it came to workshops. Check this out:
“The uncivilised sensation continued as we had all become tribes.”
Oh yeah! No better way to work on team building than by being members of a tribe.
“As we started being natural in that little village, what seemed an uncivilised area turned out to be the perfect place for a training course. Crossing the 'river' over a chair helped me to build a very strong bridge to connect with the others.”
“On the last evening, each one of us told a story. We shared our own touching stories, that brought tears to our eyes. My worries of being alone in the desert were all gone by the end of the training.”
“Who once were strangers are now my friends.”
What an inspiration. And it continues! The Facebook group is very much alive. Through the internet, we learn about our friends' achievements.
The story of having a Big Heart, for example. Our Spanish participant Sabela surprised us with a beautiful shadow theatre. She gave it all in her touching performance. That experience inspired her to perform back home as well. 'It was so good!', she enthusiastically tells us.
There is also great news from Macedonia. Marina decided to continue her work in the NGO sector, promoting non-discrimination toward people with disabilities through storytelling. Beautiful! And ideas are still growing. 'Maybe we should try to make a multinational project together,' Marina proposes. We definitely have a lot of resources now, through the people we met and the organisations they represent.
Empowering through Storytelling. 'If a story is in you, it has to come out', said writer William Faulkner. And believe me, there most certainly is a story in you. And the director of that story, is YOU!
Empowering through Storytelling. Dilbeek, 26th of October – 3rd of November 2015. Powered by Mostafa, Bharath, Sabela, Marina, Anna, Stefan, Lina, Arminé, Stephanie, Baze, Sarah, Andjela, Gosha, Djurdja, Andreas, Ira, Airida, Stevan, Dasha, Anna, Stefan, and Marieke