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Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Apr 16, 2019

Global Community Program in New Delhi

by The Moth Staff

Moth Global Community staff converged in New Delhi this March for our inaugural workshop series in New Delhi. Upon arrival, our instructors met with Global Community Instructor Trainees as well as workshop translators for training and planning. After some quick problem-solving and preparation, the team welcomed astounding advocates dealing with Tuberculosis-related issues from across the country. We held two workshops and worked with 21 participants. Our goal here, as in all of our workshops, was to help participants develop significant life stories into compelling, impactful stories. We return buzzing with excitement over the potential possibilities that these workshops in New Delhi represent for our program and the future of Moth storytelling!


Workshop 2 Group Photo

This first experience with translators brought about many surprises, new challenges, and reasons for celebration. Here’s what Master Instructor, Larry Rosen, said about the process of preparation leading up to this collaboration:

The day before the first workshop we held a comprehensive “rehearsal,” with our wonderful translators, where we experimented with everything from speaking rhythms to physical positioning. The prep work paid off!! Communication with our Hindi-speakers went surprisingly smoothly, and some beautiful stories were developed.

Here’s what instructor trainee Kendi Ntwiga - Nderitu had to say about her expectations for this new style of workshop and what she learned throughout the experience:

I wondered how it all was going to play out [with translation]. I mean, storytelling is about communicating effectively, communicating in a way that people remain glued to what one is saying. How does one pull off communication when language is a barrier? . . . We kept changing the approach on the go as this was a first-of-its-kind workshop given the translation.  Being flexible was important, it helped [me] learn the importance of just being alert and open to trying new things.

Masooma Ranalvi, one of our translators, and a global alum, said the following about translating the workshop:

Last time I was here as a student; this time I got a chance to observe the process from the outside... Being a translator was hard work. I had to be 100% attentive all the time as it was a two-way translation from Hindi to English and English to Hindi. It was a challenge and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Hearing such beautiful stories and helping the process of learning on the one hand and revealing of stories on the [other] hand by translating was enriching and humbling.

Global 1

Translator Masooma Ranalvi works with participant Bijayalaxmi Rautaray (L), Transcription of story arc instruction that Masooma wrote during a lesson (R)

Workshop participants came from many different backgrounds; they are founders of organizations, mentors, public health specialists, lawyers, doctors, and more. Many are survivors of Tuberculosis and most, though not all, told incredibly powerful stories about their experiences with the disease. Here’s what Associate Global Producer, Stephanie Musho, had to say about listening to the stories:

I ... got deeper insight into pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis – getting first-hand information on diagnoses; treatment courses; caregiving; and the need for raising awareness. This experience was different from the showcase I supported in Nairobi as the workshop was more intimate. The storytellers took us on their journeys and it was simply beautiful watching their stories come together. It was so powerful listening to the struggles and subsequent triumphs of the participants. On a personal level, I was galvanized into taking control of an unrelenting difficult situation and using it for positive impact. I definitely had a paradigm shift.

Sandhya Krishnan said about what she learned:

I realized through this workshop that stories can be so powerful, so meaningful, and, with so much brevity… carry such a powerful message, without it being in any way preachy. That to me was a huge unlearning and relearning. … It goes without saying that this learning has been invaluable to me.

Global 2

Deepti Chavan, Tupeshwari Devi, and Dr. Raghavan Gopakumar share their stories

During our Global Community Program workshops, we set aside time to discuss using the craft of personal storytelling in advocacy spaces. Many of our Global Community alumni have moved on to employ personal storytelling in their change-making work and we find it useful to hold a session that can help guide people in this direction. Our instructor trainees shared their own experiences with this work; each has used storytelling in a different way in order to galvanize their communities around issues including sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV prevention and treatment, anti-corruption, and gender-based violence. After the workshop, here’s what some participants said about what they learned and how storytelling fits into their own work:

Right now the situation is that people don’t talk openly about their problems. And now that I have learned how to show my story, I will be able to show my real story, my problems, and how I faced it. And in this way I will be able to help these people.

-Khageshwar Kumar

As TB advocates, we are generally given five minutes to speak…  I wanted to … frame my story in such a way that I am able to get across the message in those five minutes… I personally feel that there are lessons to be learned from my story for everyone. So I do that as a part of advocacy.

-Deepti Chavan

We’ll close it off with some words from Larry, who said,

One of the greatest joys, in all of our Global workshops, is seeing bonds form – among participants and between them and the instructors. These workshops were no different - in the end we’d all become close friends. (The hugs and selfies said it all!)

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(R to L) Translator Saqlain Sahidi, Larry, and participant Shaikh Saique Ali taking a post-workshop selfie

190313 Manesar Comm Tb 47

(L to R) Hanna Campbell (Instructor and Senior Manager of The Moth’s Education Program), Shaikh Saique Ali (Participant), Larry Rosen (Master Instructor), Dawn Fraser (Instructor), Kendi Ntwiga - Nderitu (Instructor Trainee)

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