Friday, July 16, 2010

Germinating Peace Through Storytelling, by Shabana Fayyaz

Going through the TOT (Training of Trainers) of the ‘Mothers for Change’ SAVE-Pakistan project launched at PAIMAN on the 9th of this month was an extremely rewarding and exciting opportunity to learn a unique technique of ‘Storytelling’ both as a means of connecting and instilling positivism in an otherwise depressing environment.

Though Storytelling has always been an integral part of our daily routines, we very seldom make use of this technique for moving forward and forging positivism in the society. It happens that most of us hear the stories of hardships, sufferings and loss whether at the personal, community or national level and often end up showing sympathy and inaction. What I learned from this workshop was how to move beyond the “sympathy syndrome” and engage in a dialogue with the person (plus community) that has undergone certain experiences (both positive and negative) and work for the common good of the society at large. That is, the value of humanity, peace and tolerance must be preserved and strived for in all the conflict situations whether at the micro or macro level.

The value of active listening and honoring a story (we observed a minute silence after listening to each one of the stories during the session) created a bond of trust and respect – critical to generating hope in the environment. I feel this is needed most in Pakistan is these days. We must act together to reclaim the goodness in our society and be prepared to engage with the extremists through dialogue, debate and discussion.

I feel very passionate to be a part of SAVE’s initiative, “Mothers for Change,” and will be travelling to Peshawar and Charsada this month to observe the training sessions and enlarge the chain of Sisters standing up against extremism and violence in Pakistan. I feel this is a beginning of new life for me both at the personal and professional level ... it will go a long way for the peace within and beyond my homeland.

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