Published: 23rd June 2021
The story behind Storipur: How Priya Muthukumar is saving the world one story at a time
Priya Muthukumar of Storipur speaks about the importance of educating children on environment and sustainability. She has been doing it for many years through storytelling
Stories are not just fictional, they can send powerful messages to children and adults, says Priya Muthukumar, the founder of storytelling platform Storipur. And that's precisely why Priya, who has worked as everything from a nursery teacher to a newsreader, decided to use storytelling to talk about sustainability and the environment.
This led Priya to prepare education modules on how children and adults could be more environment-friendly. However, seven years ago, not too many schools were interested in taking this to their children. Not one to lose hope, she decided to conduct a storytelling session on the terrace of their house. Priya recalls, "It was Independence Day and I conducted the first session in 2013. The session was pretty much only for my family and friends and they all loved it. Later, my daughter created a logo that said Storipur and my husband created a poster and we went around and stuck it on walls to invite people for the next storytelling session. Right after, an old lady who owned a small bookstore, called me and told me that I can conduct these sessions in her shop and I readily agreed to this."
She believes in talking real issues through stories
As awareness about climate change began to rise globally, Priya was invited every week to tell her stories at several schools in Bengaluru. What are these stories that she loves to tell people? Priya explains, "I create my own stories and there is no dearth of them when we speak about nature. For instance, there are big pink trumpet trees in Bengaluru. I weave stories around who introduced them in India, how they look and why they are called pink trumpet trees. Therefore, I make sure I do a lot of reading so that I can capture all the information and deliver it in the right way."
Seeing how well she has evolved, a lot of colleges have also invited her to conduct storytelling sessions as a general elective subject for students. "One college that was considering storytelling as a subject and deliver it to the students was National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gujarat. I was a little anxious about using storytelling as a subject to talk about fashion. I realised that there are different traditional clothes that are woven and designed in India. The stories that I tell can be about these traditional clothes, block-printing, reusing the upcycled materials to stitch clothes and so on."
When asked how taking her sessions virtual has been for her, Priya says, "With the pandemic around the world, every profession has been hit and has adapted the online mode. I am no different. But I feel that a lot of things are lost when we tell stories virtually. Though I was not a tech-savvy person, I adapted to it. But this lockdown helped me start my YouTube channel and deliver content through my videos. My daughter also helped me with this."