Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Two Women Talking: Making Meaning of Gender, Violence and Tradition through Personal Storytelling | Monsoon Bissell and Benaifer Bhadha

October 15, 2013

Benaifer began her storytelling in the Munirka slums of Delhi. After earning in Masters Degree in International Affairs and Social Work from Columbia University, she has worked as a clinical social worker, a human rights activist, and a community organizer. She has fostered the storytelling of pregnant teenagers in the Bonx, sex workers from South-East Asia, gay men facing discrimination from their own governments in Southern Africa, and transport workers fighting the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS in Kenya.

Monsoon, after studying personal and executive coaching at NYU and Psychological Counseling and Education at Columbia, has worked closely with people healing and redefining their narratives. Today she is Co-Dean of Programs, for the Indian Society for Applied Behavior Sciences; she has also invested herself in the Indian company Fabindia, associated with reviving indigenous crafts, and has collaborated with film directors such as Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta.

Benaifer is a teacher in Narativ, Inc's educational programs, and Monsoon is working to establish Narativ's presence in India. Together they are using the personal storytelling methodology developed by the organization to create a performance piece called Two Women Talking. They are bringing a segment of this work-in-progress to Brown to share the experience of how reclaiming narratives can be empowering and facilitative in bringing about change.


Kim Koo Library, Watson Institute | 3:00 p.m.