"My name is Gwendolene Mugodi and I am a writer and the founder of Paivapo Storytellers, a movement that aims to provide better access to local, good quality literature to the children in Zimbabwe--and eventually beyond. Our work would not be complete without the help of local artists like Abel Zvorufura who I met through the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. As two different artists we spent about a month and a half going back and forth on this book until we got to a place we were both happy with. I look forward to sharing that full book in a few months, but for now here's a little bit about Abel and why he does what he does."
Doubt, Dreams, Security. Duda, Sueños, Seguridad.
Queen is a 2015 Social Innovation Fellow. She is the founder of Radical Cards, a bilingual card game that encourages young people, especially those who are identified as "marginalized," "at-risk," and "of color," to use their creative self-expression for interpersonal social reflection. This summer, she took Radical Cards to Oakland, San Francisco, New York, and Cabarete, Dominican Republic.
Four Radical Cards lay in front of Carlitos, a four foot tall young boy from El Callejon de La Loma. Carlitos turns each individual red and white Image Card in his palm, peering at each one like a gemcutter finding the right angle to shape the stone.
He looks at me and the other student to my right, Dioni. After five minutes pass, I pick up the Word Card I had placed in the middle. On the card are the words, “Doubt, Dreams, Security,” “Duda, Sueños, Seguridad.” In the middle of the table, I reorganize the three Image Cards each one of us think relates to the words, “doubt, dreams,” and “security.”
Each of our Image Cards show a different person, place or object, which may have some relevance or connection to the words on the Word Card in the middle of the table. I had put down the Image Card of two people holding hands; Dioni had put down the card of the young woman holding herself; Carlitos, the last person two draw from his hand, had put down an image of an older woman smoking.
It is now Carlito’s turn to go. Dioni, a timid boy from a campo in Santiago, sits to my right cunningly smiling at Carlitos. This is the first time, throughout my counseling and art-as-therapy work in DREAM’s campamento, that I see Dioni behaving socially and playfully with another student. Dioni hardly speaks, but the Radical Cards game really seems to inspire and motivate him to exchange stories and perspectives with his peers.
After a few more minutes, Carlitos opens his mouth to tell his perspective, or “story,” with the Image Cards of the hands, a woman holding herself, and a woman smoking, using the Word Card words, “doubt, dreams,” and “security.”
Que ella [la muchacha que se abraza] tenía una duda de esa señora, pero esa señora [la que fuma] tenía una seguridad de sí misma. Entonces, se tiene que abrazarse para ver la diferencia entre el sentido de sentirse con seguridad, y el sentido de sentirse con duda.
Carlitos looks up at both of us and smiles. Dioni and I smile back at Carlitos, and before I can respond to his story, Dioni begins to organize the Image Cards in the order he wants to express his perspective. “¿Me toca a mí, profe?” “Is it my turn, teacher?” I nod my head yes. After two minutes of arranging and rearranging the three Image Cards, Dioni shares his perspective.
Mira, mi historia es que ellas son muy bien amigas, entonces [hay] seguridad. Pero a ella [la mujer que se abraza] no le gusta que ella fuma, [por eso] la duda. Entonces esta mujer quiere que esa mujer deje de fumar, un sueño.
“¿Entonces profe, quien gana?” “So teacher, who wins?” Of course, at this moment, I am just in awe at the connections Dioni and Carlitos made using the Image Cards. I don’t want to choose winners. There is no winning in storytelling, but there is also no losing. I tell Dioni that if he can remember Carlitos’ story, and explain the connections Carlitos made, Dioni is the winner. If Carlitos can remember Dioni’s story, and explain the connections he made with the cards, Carlitos is the winner. But if they can both explain each other’s stories, they’ve both won.
I want to hear the stories and perspectives of young people who were told they would not live long enough to form a single narrative. While not every young person identifies as a storyteller or literary artist, every person develops experiences that express stories. I created Radical Cards as a tool for verbal and visual self-expression. Radical Cards is a reflection of the varied ways in which a story can be told.
August 11, 2016
June 13, 2016
Lauren Maunus '19 is starting a bold new venture.
Its goal: To help eliminate food waste and bring healthy, affordable food to "food swamps" in Rhode Island and beyond.
March 15, 2016"If little girls like me were saying Barbie is the pretty one and the brown one is the ugly one, that's a problem."
Yelitsa Jean-Charles studies Illustration at RISD with a a concentration in Gender, Race & Sexuality. She identifies as a visual activist, and believes that artists have a responsibility as society’s image-makers. Her doll company and book series, Healthy Roots, combats internalized racism and colorism by getting to the root of the problem: altering beauty standards and cultviating self-love for young girls through education, diversity, and positive representation.
March 12, 2016An Excerpt
Mina is a Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellow. She traveled to her home in Iran last summer and brought back a cultural souvenir: the book she wrote, Taste of Culture. She explores Iranian families, streets, stores and the stories and spirit embedded in the recipes of Iranian food. She hopes to start a conversation about the benefit of knowing cuisines of different cultures to connect societies.
This year's class of Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellows have just begun their yearlong foray into the world of social entrepenuership. Check out their projects here.
December 16, 2015
Ria is a 2015 Social Innovation Fellow and co-founder of No Country for Women (NCFW), an internationally-recognized gender education initiative that aims to combat systemic gender-based discrimination in India. Ria and her co-founder, Shreena Thakore ’16, who grew up in India, were awarded the Projects for Peace fellowship and used this grant to launch the project in May of 2014. NCFW was set up to educate the people in India on gender, rape culture, and misogyny through a series of workshops and initiate informed discussions about social change.
I was inspired by Ria’s story because she was determined to start a conversation about an issue in a country that fights hard to keep such issues silent and hidden. We reflected on Ria’s experiences, her interactions with young people, most of whom had never thought about this obvious form of discrimination before, and her moments of self-doubt and extreme conviction.
October 2, 2015