Creating something from nothing is a powerful ability inside each and every one of us. Not all people have opportunities to discover and exercise this power. MeWe Storytelling Innovation–a program of Ashoka’s Youth Venture— activates a journey for creative enterprise as a means of experiential learning and community-building.
While grounded in a social entrepreneurship framework, the Me/We storytelling program for changemakers intentionally integrates therapeutic frameworks, borrowing from narrative therapy and logotherapy, to focus more specifically on self-awareness, trauma recovery, and restoration of control and agency in a context of perceived powerlessness.
In the process of collaborative storytelling, the MeWe methodology enhances youth spaces for healing, making mistakes, creative problem solving, pluralism, understanding, team-work, self expression and empathy. These are the ingredients for sustainable peace and development that youth are not able to exercise and live out in traditional education programs and status-quo youth engagements.
[Download the official brochure and check back here to explore MeWe’s current initiatives for Syrian refugee youth, and track back on reflections from the project’s six years of empowering youth through the power of the storytelling process.]
Each young person is a carrier of innovation, hope and changemaking. One of the biggest threats to peace and development are generations of youth who are not being activated as communicators, creative leaders, and changemakers. Consequently, many youth fall into alienation, depression, and sometimes violence or extremism.
Since 2009, MeWe storytelling workshops have contributed to youth social development through the power of storytelling and the arts in North Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The MeWe workshops and methodologies catalyze a transformative process in which young people begin to dream, lead and act.
Me/We believes that by decentralizing the power of narrative, young people can positively redefine their story and role in society, and rebuild an ecosystem in which they can organically work towards social change and personal growth.
Workshops involve team-building and empathy exercises that also encourage youth to use mistakes as a source for innovation and creative growth. Youth gain 21st century skills in script development, story-boarding strategic messaging, filmmaking, interviewing, basic editing and vlogging. During the process of the storytelling for changemaking, young people identify a social issue or challenge that they want to innovate around for social good. By the end of the experiential program, youth are better equipped as effective communicators for social change, and they are a step closer to launching their own group social ventures or efforts for initiating positive community change.
#MeWeSyria is currently working with youth mentors, refugee youth, parents, Youth Service Organizations and teachers in: Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan | 3 cities in Southeast, Turkey | 3 cities in Lebanon. Trainees, who are Syrain refugees, are now replicating the storytelling and changemaker program to youth and parents, with a target of reach of 800 by August 2017. Previous phases of MeWe are made possible thanks to the German Government, Porticus Family Foundation, and Ashoka’s Youth Venture. Implementing partners include: Questscope is hosting Me/We inside Zaatari refugee camp, and the NGOs DARB-Syr, who are leading #MeWeSyria in Turkey.
Partners and Supporters
To learn more, contact MeWe founder Mohsin Mohi Ud Din on the form below, or via Twitter, @mohsindin, @MeWeSyria or on LinkedIn.