Pune: The Sakal International Story Telling Festival 2018 began with its fourth season on Saturday. The fun-filled, interactive and creative storytelling festival being held at Phoenix Marketcity is an amazing opportunity for children and adults to listen and enjoy stories from the eight international award winning storytellers from around the world.
With an engaging chant, Jeeva Raghunath and the school children present at the venue welcomed Rajiv Malla, Director, Phoenix Marketcity, Pune, who inaugurated the festival in the presence of Rakesh Malhotra, General Manager, Sakal Media Group. “We are so happy for collaborating with Sakal for the festival,” Malla said, mentioning that the response from the children has been amazing.
The children were excited to interact and listen to the stories. Four sections were set up at the venue according to the age groups - 2-6, 7-12 (two groups) and adults - with two storytellers for each section.
“The children were purely amazing as an audience,” said Jumaini Ariff, from Singapore. She is widely known for her persona ‘Aunty Ju’. She believes even though the languages across the globe are different, what brings people together are the stories. “With little actions here and there and usage of my mother tongue with Hindi and English really cracks up the children,” she said.
“I have never seen my son get so engaged with a story, that he actually stays put in one place,” said Smitha Nevase, a mother accompanying her 3-year-old son Sharvil. Mabel Lee believes that it is important for children to know the stories of their own culture. Lee adds that children do not understand the different languages of the world, but what connects them with each other are the expressions.
“There is no joy than having a good laugh with your friends and enjoying a lesson in the most fun way possible,” said John Mukeni Namai from Kenya. “The children here at the festival are amazing, they even taught me a few Hindi words,” he said, adding that children are so pure when it comes to building relationships, that they do not even bother about which country the person belongs to.
“In recent times, where children are engrossed in tablets and mobile phones, such initiatives will definitely help to curb this,” said Megha Dodeja, centre head admin, CP Goenka International School. She believes that storytelling in this form will help them not only to understand but also to speak their mind and give a boost to their imagination.
Jeeva Raghunath says that storytelling is life. “It is about uniting with people and bonding with them forever,” she said. She strongly believes that storytelling and listening is a part of happiness in everyone’s life.
During the storytelling session for adults, Lillian Pang and Marianne Christensen spoke about the power of storytelling and the way people can heal through stories. Pang believes that children can learn a great deal from stories if the right stories are narrated to them. “Storytelling is a powerful tool, which should be used to tell stories and educate people,” Pang told the teachers.
Christensen is of the opinion that stories have the power to heal. “Teaching empathy to children is difficult but through stories, it is possible,” she added.
“One thing that I loved about the festival was the eagerness of the children and their involvement,” said Hellen Alumbe Namai. “Singing and dancing with the children is surely the most engaging way of exchanging stories and ideas,” said Seung Ah.
“I not only enjoyed the stories but also learned the importance of listening to my mother,” says Banisha Ghorpade, a class 3 student of Epiphany School. She added that she will engage in reading more stories, rather than watching television.
Aryan Yankar from Novel International School said, “My parents tell me stories at home too but I had a lot of fun today and truly enjoyed.”
Students from Novel International School, CP Goenka International School, Epiphany School, Sunshine Pre-primary School, Global Indian International School, CM International School and Don Bosco School were present.