BhuFeSto: The Hearing-Impaired Can Also Hear Stories


Bhubaneswar: Bhubaneswar has indeed earned a name for itself both nationally and internationally by hosting BhuFeSto – International Storytelling Festival, inaugurated on December 6. It is a part of .FEST (Bhubaneswar City Festival), curated by Bakul Foundation.

What has endeared city dwellers and especially the parents of children with hearing disability is the inclusive and diverse nature of the festival. There are specially curated storytelling sessions for children with visual and hearing disabilities.

The first session at Indira Gandhi Park today, was designed for the visually challenged with focus on the use of sounds, music, onomatopoeia and sound-scaping. For this session, Deepa Kiran performed a musical storytelling of the Ramayana but with a twist. The children enjoyed the interesting plot with various musical instruments that aptly enriched the musical telling. The session was attended by students and teachers of the BhimaBhoi School for the Blind, Bhubaneswar, Mother’s Public School and Capital Girls High School in addition to hundreds of parents with children who thronged the park.

The session for children with hearing disabilities was held in tandem with a performance by Nita Gopalakrishnan, Technical Director, Deaf Child World Wide and Deepa Kiran, (a storyteller and international storyteller-educationalist from India), the storytelling was both verbal (in Hindi) by Deepa and in Indian sign language by Nita. This storytelling of the popular ‘Monkey and the Cap Seller” was a visually rich narrative, keeping in mind an interactive performance for the deaf children. The rendition was retold with a twist at the end and use of various visual appeals and drama. As the performance progressed and the interaction kept the children and adults engrossed, the deaf children applauded with the deaf clap of raising their hands and shaking their palms. Consequently, others in the audience also began to do the deaf clap.

Deepa Kiran, who assisted Bakul Foundation in curating the festival, said, “The idea was to create a special performance for the deaf and also to sensitise those who can hear properly to change their perception of deafness as a ‘disability’ and understand their ‘capability’.”

According to Sujit Mahapatra, Festival Director of BhuFeSto, “It is really special that the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) thought of hosting a storytelling festival focusing on children to create a brand identity for Bhubaneswar. The inclusive nature of the festival will contribute significantly to the aspiration of Bhubaneswar to be a child friendly smart city.

BhuFeSto is on till December 10, simultaneously at three locations across the city: Buddha Jayanti Park in Chandrasekharpur, Indira Gandhi Park and Kharavela Park in Khandagiri from 2.30 pm to 7.30 pm.

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