madeleine | twenty one | i am here to find the worth in words

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My name is Madeleine and I am a storyteller. As a storyteller, I am a curator of personal narratives and a woman of mass impact; anything and everything that I do is driven by these two facts. I firmly believe that the way we change the world is by telling stories. I envision a society in which marginalized communities find strength in their personal narratives to create a more just and healthily developed world.

While at work one summer, I was introduced to podcasts. Thus, my fascination with stories began. I started to examine my own story and, much to my chagrin, found it hard to confront my history. In the attempt to plumb my own narrative, or perhaps more honestly, the avoidance of such plumbing, I craved to explore the stories of others. Whether our stories hold in them profound joy or grief, it is the framing of these narratives that provides us with the strength to build more. It is only through sharing that we begin to see ourselves in all stories, making the divide between our worlds seem less daunting. There is a tendency as members of the developed world to distance ourselves from “others”. But the fact of the matter is that we must see ourselves in one another. There is more that bridges our great divide than that which seemingly distances us.

As an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University, I am pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in International Studies, concentrating on development, with minors in City and Regional Planning and Economics. I have studied, learned, and written about the social, political, and economic aspects of underdevelopment in the classroom, but I have only just began to experience them face to face while in Malawi. There is only so much I can learn about the developing world from a classroom in Columbus. But one day, I will face these problems head on. I will work in the field of international development striving to alleviate social injustices and changing the things that I cannot accept. The problems the world is facing today cannot wait for my generation to leave the classroom; they need immediate action. Conveying the narratives of those who are enduring these acute problems is the way to kick start this action now. Come along with me during the journey of finding these stories.

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