RC Bangalore Whitefield Central, RID 3190, with the district’s Cultural Exchange Committee of the International Service Avenue sprang into action to promote cultural understanding and address the pressing needs of those affected by the recent devastating earthquake in Turkey. “Recognising the power of storytelling as a universal language that transcends boundaries, we collaborated with AceNovation, a software company from Singapore, and the Startup Ignition Team from Bengaluru to curate a one-of-a-kind event that brought together 195 storytellers from 195 countries, demonstrating how technology can foster global connectivity,” says Manoj Kabre, Cultural Exchange chair, RID 3190.
Titled Turn 2 Turkey, this 24-hour non-stop online programme unfolded on the Zoom platform, captivating a diverse audience of Rotarians and friends of Rotary from around the globe. The event showcased a wide array of storytelling techniques, including the Japanese Kamishibai, stories intertwined with sketches and unique musical accompaniments. Storytellers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Turkey and India contributed to this cultural tapestry.
With the support of International Service directors Shankar Sastry and Rashmi Tanksali, the organising team orchestrated the seamless coordination of the 195 storytellers, scheduling their sessions based on their respective time zones. Dr Neena Gayathri, COO of AceNovation, anchored the event, while DGN Dr Murad Ardac of RID 2420, Turkey, and DG Jeetendra Aneja of RID 3190, inaugurated the proceedings.
While the exchange of cultural insights and experiences formed the heart of this event, the underlying purpose was fundraising for the earthquake-affected people of Turkey. Rotary clubs across District 3190 were actively encouraged to contribute to the Disaster Fund at rotary.org for the affected communities in Turkey.
Despoina Aristeidou, a storytelling teacher from Greece, shared her thoughts on the event, saying, “The stories we heard and told were beautiful, mostly folk tales from different countries. Stories have the power to connect us all; through them it’s easy to point out our similarities as human beings. I hope we managed to raise enough money to give a helping hand to our neighbours who suffered from the terrible earthquake. Thoughts and prayers are always well-meant, but helping out in a fundraiser is a more practical way to show our solidarity with them.”
Geetha Subramanian, a storyteller from Bengaluru, expressed her enthusiasm for Turn 2 Turkey, describing it as a wonderful event conducted for a good cause. “I thoroughly enjoyed the plethora of encouraging and interesting stories presented by the amazing storytellers from different parts of the world. This event brought together a global community of storytellers and supported a noble cause.”