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Storytelling for inclusion and change

Graphic: Two men with disabilities at a temple in Kuala Lumpur

Five NHRIs in the Asia Pacific will create digital stories to bolster their advocacy and education efforts, using a small grant provided by the APF.

A new digital story by Malaysia's national human rights institution will follow the journeys of four people with disabilities as they travel to their places of worship.

'I want to pray' will show the different challenges that people who are deaf, with vision impairments and with mobility impairments can face when practicing their religion.

This can include physical barriers when entering the mosque, temple or church, barriers when they prepare for worship, and being excluded from different aspects of worship.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) will use the digital story as part of its advocacy to promote greater inclusion in worship and other parts of daily life for the half a million Malaysians registered as having a disability.


To build public awareness and support for our work, NHRIs need to share honest and authentic stories that help people understand how central human rights are to our everyday life.

Asia Pacific Forum Logo Kieren Fitzpatrick , Director, APF secretariat

The digital storytelling project with SUHAKAM is one of five that have been funded through a small grant from the APF.

The other digital storytelling projects will explore:

  • What human rights mean to young people and how they can help strengthen traditional cultural values (Samoa)
  • Conditions and experiences of people in psychiatric institutions (Kazakhstan)
  • Addressing exploitation and promoting social protection for animal herders (Mongolia)
  • Efforts to promote the rights and dignity of older people in care homes (Nepal).

An initiative of the APF Communications Network, the digital stories will be used on social media and in the outreach efforts of each participating NHRI.

Each storytelling project will be finalised by the end of May and the stories will be published on the APF website and YouTube channel, as well as shared with members of the APF Communications Network on the FUSE leaning platform.

"We hope that these projects will inspire other NHRIs to think about how they can use digital storytelling in their work to raise issues, engage with the community and advocate for practical change," Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat, said.

Date: 16 April 2019


Image credits

  1. Two men with disabilities at a temple in Kuala Lumpur - SUHAKAM/Pei Hsi Lee