A sneak peak into a Moving Stories program

April 14, 2023
Lois Veldheer

My personal experience with Moving Stories started with an inspiring Facebook post of the founder  Dominique. In this post, she was explaining more about Moving Stories and asking for new  volunteers. I was immediately triggered and curious about her story. Dominique and I planned an  online meeting and so my Moving Stories journey began.

Dominique told me everything about the concept of Moving Stories. About how it all started, about  the impact she's making in so many lives and about her future plans and dreams. I was so inspired by  her story; I knew I wanted to be part of this. And since we're both from the Netherlands, we felt  connected from the start and got along really well.  

A second coffee date followed and I got to know one of the Moving Stories, too. A Moving Story is a  person that experiences stigmatisation, stereotyping, prejudices, discrimination or exclusion on a  daily basis. The Moving Story shared a lot about her life and about what she has been through. And  even though I will probably never be able to fully understand her situation, it was so valuable to talk  about it and to learn from her experiences. We all have a different story to tell and we can relate to  each other's story in different ways. This Moving Story taught me again how important it is to set  boundaries, to express personal needs and to be proud of who we are.  

As you might understand, after this inspiring coffee date, I was even more motivated to contribute  to Moving Stories and so Dominique invited me to become part of the team. Such an honour! On the  9th of February 2023 we hosted an event for the Executive MBA (EMBA) students of Esade academic  institution in Barcelona. Our group consisted of ten Moving Stories and eleven Caretakers – all there  to open up a conversation about diversity, equity and inclusivity. Each EMBA student had the  opportunity to talk to two Moving Stories and to ask them everything they wanted. What was  beautiful to see, was that the students opened up about their own stories, too. By creating a safe  space and by giving them the opportunity to share, the most inspiring conversations were created.  As I had the task to capture these impactful moments on camera, I was focused on what was  happening on an emotional level, too. And so, I noticed that some were very serious, that some  laughed out loud and that even some shed a few tears. By giving the EMBA students the opportunity  to talk to people they normally don’t talk to, about topics they normally don’t talk about, a lot of  value and impact was created, in many different ways.

After the conversations with the Moving Stories, we gathered in a big circle to do a group exercise.  This exercise made us open up about our own stories even more. And this showed us that we have  more in common than we think. We might sometimes think that we're the only ones struggling with  insecurities, fears or other personal dilemmas, but this exercise showed us again that we're  definitely not alone in this. And that it can be so healing to share this with others. Even in a business  environment.

We ended the event by reflecting on the day together and at this moment the impact of the event  became very clear. Since I was not part of the conversations with the Moving Stories, I was really  curious about how the students had experienced this. It was beautiful to hear that it had been so  inspiring to actually talk to people that cope with discrimination and stigmatisation and to discover  that they still see themselves as survivors, not as victims. It had opened up new perspectives for the  EMBA students, something they can definitely apply in their working environment, but also in their  personal life.

For me personally, it was inspiring to see how a conversation of 30 minutes can already have such a  huge impact in someone's life. And although I cannot fully relate to most of the Moving Stories,  there's a big learning in each of them. The most important thing that I learned from this event is that  by opening up and by sharing our stories, we discover that we have so much more in common than  we might think. And that it is so important to look behind prejudices and see people for who they  really are: beautiful and powerful human beings. All with our own unique story.