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Digital Storytelling is a Unique Way to Engender Social Change in this Dehradun Community

Words. Rhythms. Images

Shahida is a teacher who works in a learning centre in Sapera Basti in Dehradun. Those who live in the Sapera Basti, as in other slums of Dehradun, face a range of issues throughout the year. Shahida joined the learning centre as a teacher because she wanted to work with children so that they are able to improve their future through wholesome education. While Shahida teaches her students Math, English, and other school subjects, she also takes time to inform them about other issues such as cleanliness, waste management, conserving water, and staying away from illegal substances. 


Shahida first came across the Digital Storytellers for Social Change (DiSSC) model when she got training from the communications agency, words. rhythms. images (WRI) in 2022. DiSSC is a participatory mobile video-making model designed by WRI that leverages storytelling to influence social change. During the training, she learnt that she can capture her lessons into short videos that can be shared via WhatsApp with the parents of her students and shown during class to her students. 


Once she started making her own videos, she found that she was able to keep her students more engaged and often her students also helped her to make videos. Shahida feels that with the help of the videos that she makes, she has been able to reach out to more people in her community, rather than just those who come to study from her.


Shahida believes strongly that to see a real change in students it is important to involve their parents, also. Since she operates in a low-income community, many parents of her students are illiterate and cannot help their children in their studies. With the help of these videos, she has been able to give more information to parents in the community about maintaining cleanliness in the house and personal hygiene, consuming clean water, and the importance of waste management. 


Convinced of the power of the DiSSC model, Shahida has been keenly telling others in her community about how they too can use their mobile phones to capture stories around them to shed more light on action required to bring about any kind of change. In the future, she plans to work with her young students to get them to also become digital storytellers for social change.

“As a teacher, I know that the impact can be bigger if I show something rather than just talk about it. This is why I make short videos on social issues to encourage others about what they can do to make things better in our community”

says Shahida Khatoon.

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