Telling your own story

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We began the storytelling session at Child Care centre with a free wheeling chat about the girl’s day-to-day lives at the home. Since Sonu—the volunteer there—was visiting after a long exam related break and so was I, we thought this might be a good way to reconnect with the girls. We then did a fun theatre based activity where we represented through actions, everything we had done in the morning right upto the storytelling session. Every action was exaggerated and done in fast-forward mode.

Taking this forward, we told the girls about what an autobiography is, as compared to a biography and told them to think of their autobiography—in five lines. The concept of writing or telling ones own story was completely new to them and it would be interesting to work on it further. The girls decided what would come first: their names, and so on. They decided they would end with what they wanted to be when they grew up. One of the girls said that she would like to grow up to become like one of her teachers. Sonu then explained what a ‘role model’ is and who becomes a role model. It was decided then that the activity for the next class would be based on role models. The girls will prepare stories about their hypothetical role model based on what they want to be when they grow up and present it in the next class.


I noticed that while telling their stories, the girls stuck to the ‘usual’ descriptions of themselves. What they liked or didn’t like and so on. But we stuck to that because this was clearly the first time they were doing an activity like this. It would be an interesting exercise in creativity if Sonu and Priyanka could work on this—taking it beyond just the very basic. It would also be interesting to see how the girls develop the issue of identity and self through the exercise.

Paroma Sengupta