Writing from the inside: Stories of hope and change

Date: September 26, 2014
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Writing is a powerful tool for reflection and analysis. Through writing the writer develops strong arguments and clear thinking. Yet urgent priorities of organizing leave little time for activists to write or document experiences. Gender at Work tried to address this challenge by including a writing workshop in its Civil Society Organization (CSO) Strengthening Program with eight organizations in South Africa in May 2010. These organizations had participated in an action learning program during the previous 18 to 24 months. The three day writing workshop aimed at assisting participants to find a voice and language to describe and express their experiences of change during the action learning program1. The powerful stories in this book are the result. Written by participants and facilitators these are stories of personal experiences of change during the program. Given the choice of language in which to express themselves, most chose to write in English, two wrote in Zulu, and one in Afrikaans. The Zulu and Afrikaans stories appear alongside translations in English. What is most striking about all the stories is the authors’ resilience and sense of wholeness despite sometimes excruciating histories. The context is often painful and difficult À“ yet all the authors refer to moments of transformation and hope. Since there is such a scarcity of writings by grassroots activists, these stories contribute towards a sharing of experience that can inspire hope, innovation, resilience and the capacity to overcome what may appear as impossible constraints.

Publisher: Gender at Work
Year of Publication: 2010

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