Workshop Exercises (Have my answers been useful?). Photo by Sara Filippelli
Workshop Exercises (Have my answers been useful?). Photo by Sara Filippelli

Stories of our Differences: a Celebration

Sara Filippelli has partnered with Bistra Ivanova to develop New Roots, a multi-cultural garden and festival in Milan where diversity can coexist in a place of participation. Sara has visited Bistra in Sofia and shares the learned lessons and future steps about how to tell stories that will shed a positive light on our differences.

I LIKE TO THANK Tandem Europe.
For making me discover Eastern Europe thanks to a beautiful Tandem project that I did with Multi Kulti Collective (MKC) – one of the leading Bulgarian not-for-profit organisations working on migrant and refugee integration, community development and human rights since 2011- in CasciNet, Milan.

I fell in love with Bulgaria from the first time: delicious food; colours close to Greece and Turkey; a city totally surrounded by greenery that lead to beautiful mountains; mediterranean hospitality; and Multi Kulti Collective with its wonderful activities related to food, migrants and interculturality.

With the collective, I met so many people from all over the world, people who told me their stories bringing me to Turkey, Nepal, Iran, Morocco, for a journey that was more than unique. Special!

Bulgarian Family. Photo by Sara Filippelli
Bulgarian Family. Photo by Sara Filippelli

I LIKE TO THANK Tandem Mobility Grant.
For giving me the opportunity to learn more about the MKC association with a learning weekend “Storytelling workshop for new ideas” that brought the participants into observing, feeling, listening, telling and practising the nature of the relationship between problem solving and solution finding.

The new Multi Kulti Collective center in Sofia hosted this event where – thanks to the street wisdom session, gathering stories and observing the community, analysis of real case study – we understood how much the differences can really make a difference celebrating the best hope for the preferred future.

I LIKE TO THANK MCK, Bistra and the new urban gardeners.
This mobility grant was really important for me and Bistra Ivanova – the head of the organisation of MCK – in order to share good practices and reflections on our Tandem Europe project. After the Storytelling workshop, we organised a small visit in the new urban garden of the Multi Kulti Collective centre with the aim to understand what next steps are necessary for the co-creation of a new green consciousness: Sofia increasingly needs to develop urban gardens and to build places for a territory welcoming all differences. That’s why is very important, for Bistra and for me, to continue sharing our interests, knowledge and opinions with the dream to bring some, possible, New Roots Festival’s activities – following the first edition of Milan, realised thanks to Tandem Europe – to Sofia. And if we can dream it, why don’t do it?

Solution Focused Assumptions for Storytelling. Photo by Sara Filippelli
Solution Focused Assumptions for Storytelling. Photo by Sara Filippelli

During the Storytelling workshop, I was really able to learn methodologies on the narratives of differences and explore problem solving techniques to increase community well-being. How? Questioning to ourselves: how can we tell our positive vision of the future instead of focusing on dramatic images where problems are rarely solvable? How do we tell stories that inspire people in taking active actions? How do we motivate people to create a real change by providing solutions?
Thanks to a storytelling that underlines what really works; where the desired future is explored, keeping track of successes and experiences with the aim to discover, amplify and strengthen existing abilities, strategies and resources. Working on solutions!

It was great to learn something new which I can use in my professional activity – as a Trainer and Communication consultant for a Non Profit – in order to experiment communication techniques that lead to positive impacts, both in life and work.