storytelling woman and child

Have you ever asked those closest to you to tell you stories about their own lives – their childhood, their youth, their experiences as the years have passed? Have you ever taken the time to invite them to tell you the story of the people and events that have affected them most deeply? Most of us never do that, and because we don’t, we miss out on a golden opportunity to gain a more profound understanding of those around us. There’s magic in the words: “Tell me the story you want to tell.”

When we take the time to listen to people’s stories with a receptive mind and a warm heart, we open a window onto people’s thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears, challenges and dreams. That magic is at the core of our work.

Global Dialogues uses the magic of storytelling to cultivate seeds of understanding with regard to the most vulnerable people in our societies: people who face hardship and discrimination because of their identity or the legacy of past events, because of a virus in their blood, or because, as so many in their community might say, they are “nothing but a girl”….

In today’s world, where we are being channeled to express ourselves in no more than 140 Twitter characters, it may seem a bit counter-current to ask people to take the time to tell their story, and then to ask even more people to take the time to listen carefully to stories told, but that is precisely what Global Dialogues teams do in communities across the world. We feel that empowerment starts with being listened to, and not being considered a “target group” or a “project beneficiary” or “the object of an intervention”. Vulnerable people are not “targets”; they are experts in their experiences, and if we would simply and respectfully listen to the stories they yearn to tell, they might just show us the way to a wiser, more compassionate future for our global society.