Big boys don’t cry. Or do they?

Do you think that girls should wear make-up to celebrate their femininity, or that big boys don’t cry? During last month’s storytelling workshop in Nepal, we invited 15 young people to dive into their own lives and ask themselves these questions.

Safe space
Through a series of creative exercises, the youngsters were challenged to explore the way that they had experienced their sexual and gender identity, and to reflect on how the people around them influenced this. In the safe space of story circles, the storytellers shared they personal stories and were asked to dig into deeper layers of their inner worlds.

Using your own voice, images, music
This process of refining and sharing ultimately shaped their personal scripts into authentic and well-rounded stories that combined their own voice with images and music of their choice. Digital Storytelling is an intense personalized tool that aims to reflect on, and explore, the inner life, contributing to more self-understanding, self-acceptance and self-confidence, and creating real, authentic stories that lead to social change. 

Short and sweet
These 15 young people are part of a civil society platform, which is connected to the global partnership Right Here Right Now (RHRN). RHRN works towards changing attitudes, policies, and laws that discuss their access to suitable health services, safe abortion, age appropriate sexual education, and the rights of LGBT+ people. Since digital stories are short and sweet they can easily be shared on and offline, creating a very effective way for voices to be heard in spaces they might usually not have access to.

Storytelling to touch hearts and minds
Dance4Life believes that personal stories allow us to touch people’s hearts and minds, which creates a deeper sense of empathy and understanding. This serves as ammunition to persuade the people in power to take young people’s needs and experiences seriously when they are negotiating law and policies on their behalf. 

Sajira (23 years) told us in a digital story how she found her way in challenging stereotypes on femininity in a society that has a patriarchal tendency. Watch her digital story here: