"Participating in arts activities not only reconstruct your self-esteem and identity but offers you the tool to inspire many others. Every story is special, and every story helps build community, compassion, and empathy, transforming not only the storyteller’s life but the lives of those around them.” - Sohini Das, Cultural Affairs Specialist.
This year, the Collaboratory partnered with U.S. Consulate General Kolkata to support a pilot project called “Ending Human Trafficking in India, One Story at a Time.” Led by the local non-profit Shakti Vahini, and experts in digital storytelling from StoryCenter (Berkley, CA) and performative storytelling from the Theater Alliance (Washington, DC) trainers traveled to India to lead workshops and participate in capacity building activities at the American Center Kolkata.
Story Center and Theater Alliance combined their unique areas of expertise to develop a performative approach to digital storytelling, through a week-long series of training for people impacted by human trafficking. The project culminated in the production of digital videos that address both the realities of human trafficking in India, as well as how survivors are rebuilding their lives and helping fight against it.
In the workshops, participants learned about script development, participated in story circles, and received coaching from mentors. Participants also gained valuable technical and production skills as they recorded and edited personal narrative videos.
The 9 finished videos, which you can view using the playlist below, are now being shared throughout India to engage others in this critical conversation and to raise awareness for those who are also at risk. As the UN commemorates World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, these stories of resilience and triumph are a reminder of the transformative power of storytelling to address sensitive human rights issues and advocate for social change.