Stories of Struggle, Hope, and Inclusion (SSHI)

Stories of Struggle, Hope, and Inclusion (SSHI) was born from the belief that civic spaces and communities across East and Southeast Asia are leading the way in struggles for inclusion and hope in our region; and the stories of these efforts need to be told and shared more widely. 

In 2022, I4C-EA provided 9 activists and/or artists with resources and support to produce and present stories about (and sometimes, in collaboration with) diverse Asian communities, whether based in physical or digital spaces. The storytellers combined diverse backgrounds and approaches in telling these community stories. They worked in a range of mediums (from rock songs to comics to photojournalism), on different issue areas (e.g. disability and indigenous rights), and altogether, represented 7 countries: ⁠Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

The project had no fixed definition of a community story and no specifications on content, form, and context. Storytellers could explore and determine their own directions, and I4C-EA could learn from different ways of working and unfamiliar subcultures. 

Maintaining the integrity of individual voices within this mix while crafting a collective body of work was both challenging and stimulating. As we undertook this journey with storytellers, their communities, and their collaborators, we learned to listen to and honor the deep work they were doing. Stories and the process of storytelling are doorways to the heart, sparking relationships of care and lines of action.  We hope that you will find something and someone new to care about as you hear the Stories of Struggle, Hope, and Inclusion. 

With gratitude,

The SSHI Project Team
Story Curator & Editor: Charis Loke (Malaysia)
Learning Designer: Ani Himawati (Indonesia)
Documentor: Zana Fauzi (Malaysia)  
Visual Documentor: Jun Kit (Malaysia)

I4C-EA Project Leads: Programme Officers Philip Kim (South Korea) & DW (Taiwan)

This project occurs alongside the inception of a new I4C-EA initiative, the Libraries of Resistance, which aims to collect all I4C-EA project stories into an online geographic map.

Credit: Photograph by Afi Noor, collage by Charis Loke, taken at Five Arts Centre Malaysia during a project team reunion at Farid’s Unplugged session on 30 October 2022. Philip and DW were not present in person, but there in spirit!

Project images

The following is a selection of visuals created by the Visual Documentor, illustrating each storyteller in action, and expressing the sentiments, energy, and spirit of their respective stories.