Reshaping Our World through Stories’: Youth-Led Storytelling in Rakhine, Karen, and Mon States to Promote Respect for Diversity

Under United ACT program, we designed a project named ‘Reshaping Our World through Stories’ to promote respect for diversity through youth-led story-telling aimed at raising awareness about and re-shaping perceptions towards fostering a culture of acceptance and respect of diversity. It also aims to document the experiences, opinions, and lessons learned of youth in promoting respect for diversity. To achieve these aims, Equality Myanmar will engage with youth in Rakhine, Karen, and Mon states to capacitate and support them to creatively address the problems of diversity through community theatre, short films, and a storybook. In addition to imparting the creative and technical skills in theatre, storytelling, and film editing, the workshops will enable youth participants to understand the benefits of diversity, as well as reflect on and analyze community conflicts as they relate to beliefs about diversity. The youth participants will also gain confidence in expressing their opinions through public theatre performances, short films, and community discussions, with each activity building on the previous. At the end of the project, youth participants will have knowledge, technical skills, and resources to enable them to continue promoting respect for diversity in their communities through a variety of storytelling and performance methods. As a multiplier of the project, the ideas and stories gathered from the youth will inform the development of two information, education, and communication (IEC) products: (1) a storybook about diversity targeting youth readers that will be translated into local languages (Rakhine, Mon, Karen) and disseminated in target areas; and (2) a report documenting the current situation faced by youth and lessons learned about promoting respect for diversity, intended for use by educators, NGOs, government, embassies, and human rights bodies.