The Story Store – Update from Wiesbaden Social Action
The Story Store is a project affiliated with the MasterPeace Club Wiesbaden and was grateful to receive funding from EUU Social Action in 2018. Its mission is to sell unusual books, art work and textile goods closely related to artists and storytellers and to bring the tales of activists around the world to local audiences, thereby building connections between people.
The Story Store project was begun in 2018 by two people: Bledion Vladi, a former student of Bonnie Friedmann (WUU), and Kristine Tauch, who founded MasterPeace Wiesbaden in May of 2017. The Story Store was developed with the help of a successful Startnext Crowdfunding campaign which raised over 10,000 EUR. Find out more here: https:www.startnext.com/the-story-store.
Bledion himself came to Bad Homburg, Germany, as a refugee from Albania about three years ago and was offered a scholarship at Accadis International School. While finishing his IB diploma and participating in the school’s theater club, Bledion also found time every Saturday to teach German to other refugees in Eltville.
Kristine Tauch created and led a “Storytelling for Change” program, bringing refugees and locals together to work on biographic stories. Bledion participated in this project as a communication manager, and also wrote his personal story down. The result of the program were short stories of authors from six different countries. Kristine and Bledion, as the core team of MasterPeace Wiesbaden, published them in a book called Warum wir hier sind – Reisegeschichten aus unserer Welt. All the profits of the book sales go back to MasterPeace Wiesbaden projects.
Bledion also helped MasterPeace Wiesbaden win a contest to meet their crowdfunding goals while competing for the Deutscher Integrations-Preis in 2018. The money helped fund the book Warum wir hier sind in June of 2018.
The book shares nineteen very different stories of refugees, with fitting illustrations by Tobias Borries. Inspirational, informative and deeply moving, the book begins with the heart-wrenching tale of a young boy who leaves behind his family in Somalia to avoid becoming a child soldier and ends with Bledion’s own amazing story.
Although the book is currently available only in German, Bledion’s next goal is to find an English publisher and get the book translated and distributed.
The book project fits in well with the goals of MasterPeace Wiesbaden, whose mission is to host intercultural projects, tell stories, work together, learn, laugh and celebrate. Find out more on their Facebook site, MasterPeace Wiesbaden. The club is one of more than 45 such groups around the world in over 40 countries. The umbrella organization, MasterPeace, is an award-winning grassroots non-profit and non-governmental peace movement, begun by partners based in the Netherlands and Egypt. Find out more here www.masterpeace.org.
Bledion and Kristine are excited about sharing more with us about The Story Store at the upcoming fall 2019 retreat in Bad Homburg and will be offering a workshop. WUU hopes that EUU and its members will continue to support this worthy project in any way they can.