Cadbury Dairy Milk has launched of the Glass & A Half Project Presents: There’s a Story in Everyone – an initiative which aims to inspire these children through the power of storytelling.
Award-winning South African stars, singer and songwriter, Shekhinah, and hip-hop artist and TV presenter, ProVerb, to have shared their inspirational stories with orphaned and vulnerable children across South Africa.
For these children, the impact of the past few months is greater than we can imagine. They have less contact with volunteers and limited resources – now more than ever orphaned and vulnerable children need us to add more love, hope and inspiration into their lives. Stories inspire, they encourage, they create connections and they enable children to dream.
Cadbury Dairy Milk’s storytelling traditions
Lebohang Masango, anthropologist, poet and award-winning author of Mpumi’s Magic Beads, believes Africa’s storytelling tradition is particularly unique because, through stories we have the ability to pass down lessons and important information about one’s heritage. ‘’It’s a beautiful way to connect the present generation to the generations that came before. It also binds us to indigenous forms of knowledge. It’s a wonderful representation of who we are, in our differences and similarities. When you hear a story from a person you’ve never met, you get to inhabit a piece of them.”
How storytelling shapes children
Legendary storyteller, activist, actress, poet, playwright, author and director, Gcina Mhlophe says, “Stories can get children excited about the fact that we’re all different but we each have something special to bring to the table. My story Horns Only is about two unlikely friends, a zebra and a monkey who went everywhere together until there is a party and the rhino says that only animals with horns can come. Stories like that raise so much discussion amongst children; often they say, ‘I don’t fit in because I don’t have a father’, or because ‘I don’t have money’. There are so many things that make us feel like we do not fit in.
‘’Stories have different ways of awakening our soul, of making us look at ourselves, of helping us feel like we belong. Stories written, told or made up; they are always our companions.”
Sharing your story
For some South Africans, sharing a story, whether fictional or factual, might feel daunting. We make ourselves vulnerable when we share a creative piece of ourselves, however Lebohang has some advice for conquering that ‘fear’. “A person’s ability to tell their own unique story is important. We get over fear by sharing a small memory from our own lives. Tap into your childhood experiences. When you tell a story about something you know, you already have the answers and feel confident.’’
Gcina adds, “You don’t have to tell a story with many intricate twists and turns. Keep it short with a few details. Then you are inviting a child to visit your world at their age. When I lived in my mother’s village in the Eastern Cape there was a dry riverbed and when we had heavy rain a serious waterfall formed. I’d run out and stand behind the waterfall, shout, sing, jump up and down and make a noise. It is a wonderful memory that reminds me of a joyful time. You can share memories like that. The more you share, the easier it gets.”
“When a person shares a story with kids, you can connect heart to heart through storytelling, through these invisible threads. They don’t know you, but you bring a beautiful story and that is the magic. I tell stories that I love and I hope my joy and enthusiasm will be infectious.”
We are calling on all South Africans to do the same in the hope of encouraging and inspiring these children to dream big and imagine a world of possibilities far beyond their reality. The most inspiring and appropriate stories will be collated into an e-book and shared with the orphaned and vulnerable children which we hope will inspire them to dream big.
Sharing your story is so easy, simply chat to the bot on whatsapp on 0872406488 and submit your story.