Crucial to the success of Sonke’s work is ensuring a central role for those most directly affected by violence and HIV. A platform is required for their voices to inform our efforts and be represented across Sonke activities.
We all have stories to tell about our lives. Through sharing and listening to such stories, we come to know each other, our communities, our world, and ourselves. Stories can inspire us, educate us, and move us deeply. As a result of being touched by someone else’s story, we make connections between their circumstances and our own. When it comes to confronting complex social issues, these connections can help us to bridge the vast differences that often divide us and instead act with wisdom, compassion, and conscience.
Sonke Gender Justice and the Silence Speaks digital storytelling initiative enabled young people and adults affected by violence and HIV and AIDS to share their stories. From cities to rural villages, the project offers participants a rare opportunity to talk about their own experiences and bear witness to the lives of others, in a supportive setting. Through intensive, participatory video production workshops, we are bringing rarely-heard voices and images into the civic arena. Our hope is that by highlighting everyday stories, we will deepen existing conversations about gender norms and the spread of these twin epidemics.