Under the Afghanistan Media Development & Empowerment Project (AMDEP), Internews Network- Afghanistan with the collaboration of Bytes for All, Pakistan organized the digital storytelling workshop to empower women’s use of new media technologies and applications.
In this workshop, women from Herat, Kabul, Mazar Sharif, Kandahar took part and shared their personal stories.
The agenda of the workshop was to empower women to utilize information and communication technologies to end gender-based discrimination against them.
In digital storytelling, stories are produced, stored and disseminated using digital media. The focus is on the story tellers’ control over the medium, choice of words (narration), pictures and music so that the process is as powerful for the story teller as the end product is to the listener.
Digital storytelling helps women use new media technologies and applications for their healing, empowering and awareness-building.
The workshop motivated women tell their own stories as it would be source of inspiration for many and a lot of women would be learning from their experiences.
During the workshop, participants learned how to use various new and traditional media tools to express themselves and enhance their advocacy efforts to end gender-based discrimination.
The Afghan women participated actively in the workshop. These passionate young women presented a series of inspiring digital stories on issues ranging from motherhood to wearing the burqa.
Here is the first story from the digital storytelling series they shared with us…
During Taliban period women of Afghanistan were forced to wear a three pounds of extra weight of clothes called ‘Burqa’ on top of their formal and informal clothing. It was really difficult for the women and young girls who had never worn it before. This heavy piece of clothing covers them from the head to ankle.
Family pressure and cultural obligations are most common reason that girls are forced to wear buqa despite their will.
In conservative parts of Afghanistan, burqa is still the norm. Women and young girls are forced by families and relatives to wear it. During the dogmatic Taliban regime, burqa was mandatory, girls were enforced to wear it and anyone who refuses; their face was burnt with acid by the Talibans.
Maryam, a was forced to wear a burqa at the age of 12.
Even though she comes from an educated family, she is forced to cover herself because of pressure from her extended family. Maryam is forced to wear to wear burqa by her uncle. Her mother is a teacher and her father an engineer.
Maryam says she was mocked and made fun by her friends as she couldn’t carry burqa well. In spite of being asked to cover herself, Maryam still expresses her vibrant personality in this digital story– occasionally using humor to mask her disappointment and pain.
This digital story was created during the Take Back the Tech! digital storytelling project in Kabul, held in conjunction with Afghanistan Media Development & Empowerment Project (AMDEP), Internews, Bytes for All and APC WNSP.