"Telling stories has this amazing power..."

Author's name: 
Erika Smith
Mexico

As part of APC WNSP´s MDG3 project Take Back the Tech! to eliminate violence against women taking place in 12 countries, a Feminist Tech Exchange on digital storytelling took place in Pakistan the second week of June with APC member Bytes for All and local partner Jehan Ara, passionate Take Back the Tech activist and president of P@SHA, the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITES. This FTX was unique because it was a train-the-trainers event for Pakistani tech and women´s rights activists, and also took advantage of the APC Membership Exchange Fund so that Valentina Pellizzer from OneWorld Platform for Southeast Europe Foundation could join APC WNSP team members Jan Moolman, Jennifer Radloff, Cheekay Cinco and Lalaine Viado as facilitators in the five-day training.

The tweets (#ftxpk), videos and blogs were fast and furious. Here are some tidbits to entice you, hopefully you´ll have a moment to learn more about feminist tech exchanges and digital storytelling to end violence against women, and the magic one always feel when women and technology get together….

“As I viewed movie after movie, I was amazed at the way each story had been crafted. The sensitivity and the pain came through each story as did the courage of each of the women whose stories we saw and heard. The talent and technique, the artistry, the ability to put into words something so personal, so deep, so heartbreaking at times that all you wanted to do was go and hug the storyteller.” from Creating our first digital stories as part of the FTX by Jehan Ara, co-coordinator of the MDG3 project in Pakistan.

“Listening to them sisterhood come back clean and meaningful, feminist return to be the practise of solidarity, the bond of speaking about ourselves instead of talking about the others. In this circle where imaginary get forged, computers are our modern weaving machine. We weave words, sounds and images. It is an individual as much as a collective process, it is existential and it is political. It is a challenge and an opportunity. It is a crossroad and a turning point.” from The bright side of women: Pakistan by Valentina Pelizzer, cofacilitator of the FTX PK.

“When women are asked to think about technology, we think about it differently, because the way we experience it is through our hands and bodies, we don´t use it unless it is useful to us. how we imagine technology will always be visionary, because it is linked to how we live technology.” Cheekay Cinco, from APC´s Strategic Technology and Network Development programme, in an interview about feminist practices of technology with Jehan in her blog In the Line of Wire (you can also get a glimpse of Cheekay´s latest tattoo!)

“Sharing a story of hurt and harm from ones life with others is a brave act. There is the wanting to share so others know and we are witnessed but there is the fear that the throat will not open or that we cannot trust our voices…..Our workshop begins with hand mapping where we trace our hands on paper and paint our experience of violence on the one hand and technology on the other and the space in between which connects or disconnects the two…Symbols and shapes represent connectivity, struggle, silence and pain. The hands that create and connect also destroy and abuse….” From Of mapping contradictions and soccer by Jenny Radloff, Africa coordinator for the MDG3 project.

“Participating in and facilitating the story circle in Islamabad has had a profound impact on my feminism and approach to training. It reminded me of how much we leave unspoken whether by choice or coercion. “ From Sharing our stories in Pakistan by Jan Moolman, “MDG3: Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women” project coordinator

Indeed, as Jan says in a video posted by Jehan, “telling stories has this amazing power…”

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