Foster change with storytelling: TheGoodTalkFactory

TheGoodTalkFactory Foundation provides opportunities for common people to share their personal stories with the world. It recently celebrated its fifth anniversary
​  Raghu Dutt and Rajdevi (Principal of Khushbow Vidya Niketan)   ​
​ Raghu Dutt and Rajdevi (Principal of Khushbow Vidya Niketan) ​

HYDERABAD: "You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it,” said author Margaret Atwood. Many storytellers believe that each person is born with the desire to share their stories with the world and that the greatest of stories are found in the most common places. In a world full of stories, some often get overlooked.

Raghu Dutt, a sports psychologist and life-skills trainer is also a storyteller. Five years ago, he started TheGoodTalkFactory Foundation (TGTF), an NGO that aims to foster positive social change through the power of conversations. “The initial drive came when I was rejected by a so-called big platform in Hyderabad for not being famous. This is how an idea to create a platform where every commoner is welcomed to share their story through any performing art, became the beginning of the long journey for TheGoodTalkFactory,” Raghu told CE.

The organisation tries to challenge stereotypes and democratise the conversation space. “We aim to create a world where commoners become extraordinary voices of change. We believe that everyone, regardless of fame or social status, deserves a platform to share their stories, dreams, and talents.” Raghu said.

The organisation recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. The celebration held at Guruswamy Centre, resonated with impactful initiatives and artistic expressions. Interactive games and captivating storytelling engaged an audience of 65 people, while evocative poetry and soulful music resonated deeply.

The highlight of the evening was the signing of a significant MoU between TGTF and Khushbow Vidya Niketan, pledging to sponsor the education of 20 underprivileged students for the upcoming academic calendar under TGTF VIDYA child education scheme and the launch of TGTF’s website.

The performers at the event included singer and musician Kousalya, storytellers Sandeep Tadi (co-founder of Storyboard Productions) and Swetha Desiraju (founder of Bright Side Foundation), poets Akhila, Namya Naresh and Ammara Khan. Samarth, who is identified as a person with autism, loves to play the keyboard and explore music. He performed at the event along with other musicians, namely, Meghana, Priyanshu and Ritesh. The art stalls were put up by YuMe Arts, Colour Palette and Khushiya.

The organisation has been organising storytelling events and breaking barriers in the domain of disabilities and LGBTQIA+ spheres as well. It aims to shift the narrative landscape and create a culture where the power of storytelling transcends social hierarchies, amplifying the voices of commoners. The idea is to celebrate their stories and create a more inclusive society that values the richness of human experiences.

“Launching TheGoodTalkFactory’s first-ever event was a proud moment for me, as Aafiya, a class 8 student from a low-income school, took to the stage. At this event, a courageous performer shared her story of being dyslexic, marking the first time she opened up on a platform. In our community, the only prerequisite to performing is having an unheard, genuine story rooted in personal experience,” said Raghu.

Through numerous events, TGTF actively encourages self-expression in various forms, fostering uniqueness. On being asked what has been the organisation’s major achievements in five years, Raghu said, “Becoming an outreach training partner for the upcoming International Purple Fest Goa 2024, where I’ve personally trained around 1200 student volunteers in sensitisation.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, TGTF donated 30k worth of sanitisers and masks, supported students’ education, and contributed to other NGOs. “The motive behind TGTF’s inspiring journey is to revive forgotten values of common human interactions,” Raghu concluded.

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The New Indian Express