Digital Storytelling: The Dignity Project #2

The Dignity Project is a hands-on, grassroots program where teenage and young women can learn digital storytelling skills in a collaborative and mutually supportive project to further the cause of female empowerment.

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Dignity Project #2

We recently completed our second Dignity Project for teenage girls and young women with the help of filmmaker Arilyn Martinez. We would like to thank Arilyn and all participants, guests, and especially our supporter Chelsea and Hudson Yards Innovation Grants and the Hudson Guild.

Below you can find workshop pictures and short-films produced by the participants.

Dignity Project #2 Screening

The Story Behind - The Dignity Project #1

Our first month-long course for girls with a South Asian background was conducted in 2018 with the help of Saba Ismail, the founder of Pakistan-based NGO Aware Girls; and photographer/videographer Florence Montmare. The topic was Gender Based Violence and women’s rights. Grateful for the support of Eileen Fisher Community Partnerships, The Lower East Side Girls Club, and Rhea Bhandari!

 The purpose of the program is to empower teenage girls and young women belonging to vulnerable populations; to establish a safe space for young women; challenge violence against women; strengthen their capacity as agents of change in ending violence against women through the use of communication technology; and to change the attitude of people and build collective responsibility in the community for ending violence against women  and protecting women’s human rights.

The Dignity Project is a storytelling workshop for young women to learn new digital skills and share stories about important issues in their lives, in the process empowering themselves and each other. It establishes a safe space for young women, where they are free to create their own personal expression through digital storytelling.The outcome is not only increased confidence and enhanced leadership skills of the participants, but they emerge from the course with creative and IT skills needed to produce valuable content for any purpose.

 Through public screening of the finished products, we will create discussions in the community which will lead to attitudinal change and recognition of of gender based violence as a human rights violation. Another end result will be a methodology which will be applicable for other organizations and virtual online tools.

 The underlying goal of the project is to develop and hone a project model that the Kota Alliance, as an incubator for nonprofits and social businesses working for gender equality, will modify and implement in different projects. As highlighted in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, multi-stakeholder collaboration is the only way for social change. This project aims to create one framework that facilitates collaborative coworking and learning across communities, cultures, disciplines and professional fields, organizations, and individuals.

Since 2018, we have focused on the topic of Digital Storytelling. This method of communicating for impact is becoming recognized as increasingly important both for companies and for nonprofits, but also for individuals.  In February 2018 we organized a full day “Kota Day’ event on this topic for nonprofit organizations. The resulting resources can be accessed online here.

Video: Rhea Bhandari