Voice of Witness–Volunteer for Oral History Projects from Human Rights Crises

Storytelling at its best transports us to far off lands or corners of our imaginations, where possibility is limitless and adventure is guaranteed…storytelling at its most harrowing is when individuals bear witness to the limitless cruelty of our world and its governments, military forces, natural and unnatural disaster, and people. Voice of Witness is a non-profit that empowers those most closely affected by human rights crises and injustices by giving them voice, and increases the attention and conversation around these issues in readers–whether they be high school students, academics, policy makers, governments, or those simply willing to be moved by true accounts of human rights issues. Inspiring action and advocacy, the stories told to volunteer researchers and interviewers open eyes and hearts (often wetting the former, and cracking the latter).

The books of these assembled personal histories make compelling collections, from the trenches (literal and figurative) of America’s prison system, post-Katrina New Orleans, undocumented immigration, abducted and displaced people of Sudan, Zimbabwe and its turmoil, Burma’s military regime, post-9/11 injustices, and women’s prisons.

Voice of Witness is always looking for volunteers to research, interview, transcribe, design, translate, write grants, and photograph. See if the inspiration to serve this project takes hold as you explore their website. Dedicating spare hours of volunteer time to giving voice to crisis situations is absolutely answering a high call.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Storytelling at its best transports us to far off lands or corners of our imaginations, where possibility is limitless and adventure is guaranteed…storytelling at its most harrowing is when individuals bear witness to the limitless cruelty of our world and its governments, military forces, natural and unnatural disaster, and people. Voice of Witness is a non-profit that empowers those most closely affected by human rights crises and injustices by giving them voice, and increases the attention and conversation around these issues in readers–whether they be high school students, academics, policy makers, governments, or those simply willing to be moved by true accounts of human rights issues. Inspiring action and advocacy, the stories told to volunteer researchers and interviewers open eyes and hearts (often wetting the former, and cracking the latter).

    Reply

  2. After we spoke to these women, we were determined that their voices should be heard. Though we were both aware of the practice of slavery during the war between the SPLA and the Government of Sudan, we had not read extensive reports or narratives of such women’s lives. So while we worked on telling Valentino’s story—in what became What Is the What—we also made plans for a book of oral histories of the lives of Sudanese women during the war. The Voice of Witness series was conceived as a forum where victims of gross human rights abuses could tell their stories not in brief sound bites, but from beginning to end, encompassing the full scope of their humanity. We wanted to make sure that a reader knew the narrators not just as victims or statistics, but as fully human. In this way a reader has a far better chance at empathy, and is more likely to be outraged when the narrators’ basic rights are trampled upon. When it comes to the lives of the Sudanese women we met and you’ll meet in this book, a bit more outrage is surely warranted.

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