Storyology: Digital Storytelling by Immigrants and Refugees

Using technology to tell our stories, discover our collective power, and digitally document our journeys

This fall, the American Friends Service Committee Area Office of the Carolinas is offering a Digital Storytelling class to a diverse group of immigrants and refugees living in the Charlotte area. The class will bring together six local immigrants for two weekends of participatory workshops on story-telling, audio and video editing, and community building.  The students will become documentarians by working with trained volunteers who will assist them in recording their lives.  These sessions will guide the participants in using 21st Century technology to share their experiences as world citizens, immigrants, and Charlotteans. Using interactive storytelling techniques, a computer lab, photographs, oral histories, digital cameras and music, the new documentarians will gain skills that last a lifetime. Participants will develop tools to inform the broader public and policy makers with their personal accounts of what it means to be an immigrant. We will foster trusting relationships and break down the barriers that keep us from understanding the human condition.

We are still finalizing the dates and location of the class, but we are planning for the two weekends of October 1-3, October 22-24, and one interim evening meeting on Wednesday, October 13. Class will meet Friday evenings, all day on Saturdays, and Sunday afternoons.  We will have six slots available for a diverse group of immigrant students, and six slots for partner volunteers, plus a number of other volunteers to help out.

Our class is on a tight budget and we need your support to make it happen! We are currently seeking the following:

Volunteer Needs

  • Help identifying potential students
  • Help soliciting donations (see below)
  • Partner volunteers willing to partner with a student, commit to all class sessions and be (or become) proficient in Windows Movie-Maker
  • Volunteer “Teachers” with skills including photography, creative writing, oral history, storytelling, audio editing, video editing, Windows Movie-Maker, etc.
  • During the class: volunteers to help scan in photos, pick up the lunch, set up the snacks and the lunch, clean up, welcome/greet participants

Donations Needed

  • Space for 2 weekend sessions and one evening session that has a computer lab with Windows Movie-Maker on the computers and also has comfortable space for group sharing and activities
  • Snack donations for all class sessions (2 Friday nights, 2 Saturday mornings and afternoons, 2 Sunday afternoons)
  • Meal donations for approx. 20 people (2 Saturday lunches)
  • Digital cameras for each student to use during and outside of class—donated or borrowed
  • High quality photo scanner (1200 dpi or more) for use during class sessions
  • 2+ GB flash drives for each student
  • Notebooks, pens, index cards , 3-ring binders for each student

If you can help identify volunteers, serve as a volunteer yourself, and/or help secure any of the donations needed, please contact  Lori Fernald Khamala (, 336-854-0633) or Kali Ferguson (, 919-451-1445).  If you'd like to publicize the event, please download our flyer (.pdf).


Apply to participate in the project: See below for applications. Submit to contacts above.