Open History Project is a budding global oral history project that aims to create a multilingual database of interviews with historical and eye witnesses in order to preserve contemporary history and share political and social events the way ordinary people lived it. We gather personal experiences worldwide and publish them on our website.
We are taking steps to create a network of community builders that actively promote community participation, freedom of speech and opinion, and access to a diversity of views. We want to promote the unheard voices, as well as broaden the range of discussion and present alternative views to social issues.
A community of volunteer reporters, community representatives and translators make the stories that matter to them accessible to discussing on an international platform.
TRANSLATORS AND STORYTELLERS
We believe in creating a world where empathy does not stop at political or geographic borders.
We give a voice to people from all walks of life, provide them with the opportunity to share their experiences with an international audience and preserve their stories for future generations. We aim to broaden the range of acceptable discussion, promote mutual respect and intercultural exchange and value contributions from everyday people. We promote community organizing and citizen participation through active listening and advocacy.
In 2014, Lena and Justin met to study Spanish and an indigenous language in the highlands of Guatemala. Through a former guerilla fighter and a political activist from the civil war they discovered a past without a voice. The locals shared their stories with them, while even today no school, newspaper or TV station in the country could invite these compañeros to share their experiences out of fear of political and economic oppression.
With the support of local activists and community leaders they documented the stories of dozens of Guatemalan people whose struggles would otherwise be lost to history. By committing to record and share the “unheard voices,” they found an activity that was both deeply meaningful and inspiring.
Open History Project stories focus on firsthand knowledge and are relevant to at least one of three themes:
- Giving value to elders – interviews that preserve the views and experiences of older generations
- Increasing consciousness of other cultures – promoting empathy across borders and encouraging diversity of views
- Providing access to local knowledge – discovering the past of a village, town or city from the view of an individual who lived it
Open History Project is a volunteer run organization and has no paid staff. It was founded in 2014 by Justin and Lena, who serve as organizers.
Volunteers collaboratively collect interviews, translate and share them online. Open History Project also collaborates with several NGOs and educational institutions worldwide to help build local communities.