Mother’s are guardians of their family history. They are the guardians of memory. They are the pillars of strength upon which a family is built. This archival project is the first of a series of people’s histories that focuses on mothers from the South and North that highlight their strength in the face of adversity, and their hopes for their children’s and Sri Lanka’s future.
These people’s histories or ‘herstories’ not only highlight a shared history, but shows how we are rooted in multiple identities, multiple histories, and different experiences. Through the narratives of many, this project highlights a collective sense of fundamental humanness that transcends boundaries. These women’s oral histories not only add to the Sri Lankan culture of oral tradition and story-telling, they contribute to reconciliation and the preservation of history through the ‘voices of those that lived it’ for future generations, academics and students to access.
We currently have 275 oral histories – some through hand-written letters recounting women’s personal histories, experiences and hopes; some through photo essays; some through short video; and some through mapping and visual story-telling exercises. They have been translated and are available in English, Sinhala and Tamil.
A sample collection was presented through travelling exhibitions held in Colombo, Galle, Ampara, Jaffna and Batticaloa in Sri Lanka and the UK and Canada. Smaller versions of the exhibitio were held in Kabul, New York, Sydney and New Delhi.
The entire collection has been archived online, in an effort to create space for discussion, responses and use for academic purposes. The originals have been presented to the National Archives in Sri Lanka for posterity, thus ensuring that it remains as a living history. This project was funded by the Commonwealth Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund. Some exhibitions have been supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK, the World Bank and UN Women.
Click here to Visit Her Stories Website