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Our Stories and my continuing Journey

Young people affected by the conflict with the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda, returning to School

I first became aware of World Pulse or the Pulse Wire publication when I was working in northern Uganda for UNICEF with young people from the Girls Education Movement (GEM). I was documenting the campaign to get children back to school and in finding stories that highlighted some of the main issues faced by children during the conflict and the post-conflict situation the region found itself in. It was both inspiring and depressing. I noticed immediately the difference in the recovery and impact of the conflict on girls. Although, both girls and boys had been recruited to fight as soldiers in the LRA, the girls were also often taken as the ‘wives’ of the commanders of the LRA.

It seemed incredibly important that others could hear these stories of the young people I met during the project. And luckily the opportunity arose in the form of a project called Our Stories, which was a collaboration between UNICEF, Google, One Laptop per Child and StoryCorps. This that brought together stories from children and communities all over the world in an interactive way. You can see some of these stories and those of other children worldwide here. http://www.ourstories.org/

I was asked to contribute an article to Pulse Wire about this and some of my other work. I had never heard of World Pulse or Jensine Larsen before, but I had deep respect and admiration for what they were trying to achieve and the beautiful way in which women’s stories were presented.
I have applied to the VOF scheme as it is an amazing opportunity for women from all over the world to collaborate and work together on ideas and projects that highlight stories that are rarely heard.

I have seen first hand from the communities I have worked with and the Chakma Indigenous Peoples that I come from that some of the major causes of marginalization and disempowerment are not fully understood or seen through the eyes of women. And that decision makers are not aware or do not want to acknowledge some of the difficult truths about the political causes of the problems faced in the world today.

I see the type of citizen journalism that World Pulse is fostering through VOF, as contributing to the ever-growing flow of information and consciousness that is slowly but surely changing peoples’ hearts and minds. Not in the trite manipulative way that politicians mean, but in a way that is real and authentic and flows in the stories and feelings from woman to woman and community to community across the globe.

In the past freedom fighters and revolutionaries were involved in battles in the quest of autonomy and emancipation. And I think it is essential that women recognize the technological revolution we are now in the midst of and the power that we hold in our stories and the way we are able to connect with others to break down the myths and lies that separate and divide us.

A sign promoting abstinence in schools in Uganda. Due to funding from US evangelical right wing churches, promotion of ABC (Abstinence, Be Faithful and Wear a Condom) the promotion of condom use was dropped for just AB- devastating for women and girls.
A young mother and her dying child in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. I used this photo to raise awareness of food shortage in this apparent food surplus area of Bangladesh to UN and other agencies.

Comments

olutosin's picture

Journey!

I read with admiration, may God bless you, bless the journey, some journey makes us want to pack our bag and baggage and say I will follow you!

This is a beautiful , encouraging, life changing and worthy of emulation! I believe that the World can see how moving forward and not looking back can impact on the lives of women, children and men too.

You have done this well my sister.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Dear Olutosin,
Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I just looked at some of your profile and am amazed and full of admiration for your work as well.

I think it is so important as women that we remember that actually we are all powerful. And it is that power that can scare us and those that would surpress us as well. By working together and finding more of our voices, we can be invincible. We just all need some encouragement and reminders along the way.

Thanks again, your sister and friend from across the seas...

Ina

alia's picture

this is so wonderful , i

this is so wonderful , i loved it , you know such kind of stories and assignemnts make us so hopeful about women future ,iam proud of you my friend Ina

best,
Alia

Ina Hume's picture

Dear Alia

Thank you so much for your comments. I think the thing that i love most about travelling and meeting women from different communities is the stories and wealth of knowledge that they have. It is always inspiring and often very humbling as well to see how much women can achieve against the odds.
I have loved your assignments as well- so very interesting. I will comment on that separetely though.
Best wishes,

Ina

nureendas's picture

Ina - You've had some great

Ina - You've had some great experiences using storytelling for empowerment and advocacy. I hope that your work continues to contribute to this important tool in the development process.

Ina Hume's picture

A privilege

Dear Nureendas, Thanks for your comment. I think i have been privileged to have been born in a place and to a family that has seen conflict and politics as part of daily life. This has given me a real interest in the importance of empowerment from a grassroots level up. And my family are great storytellers with a tradition of oral history. so i have always liked to listen to stories and songs.
I hope that i can continue to build on this, as i think it is our stories and histories that connect us with others from around the world- especially when we realise there are many shared experiences...
Best wishes,

Ina

kati.mayfield's picture

technological freedom fighters

Technological freedom fighters - what a great concept! Thanks, Ina, for the food for thought and for telling these powerful stories with conviction and compassion
-Kati

*resolved this year to think twice and to smile twice before doing anything*

Ina Hume's picture

Techno freedom fighters

Dear Kati,
What a great phrase you have coined there. In many ways though it is true. I think i started to see the power of activists using these new technologies during my invovlement in the Indigenous Peoples movements. It seemed that those groups that had the least power and who were at the very brink of total disempowerment from the overwhelming force of governments and multinationals were able to quickly grasp the importance of this 'free' technology. Campaigning, petitions, citizen journalism and getting media and stories out of conflict areas that are being denied by authorities. These have been ways in which Indigenous Peoples have managed to raise awareness of the issues facing communities across the world. I do not think it is a coincidence that it is in my lifetime- during this technological revolution that the member states of the UN have finally and so tardily adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It has simply become harder to deny that Indigenous Peoples are living in extreme poverty and facing extreme discrimination.
I see more victories on the horizon, and with each victory and connection, more will be born. A bit like a beautiful kind hearted Medusa...

Best wishes,

Ina

KathyWu's picture

There are individuals in this

There are individuals in this world who can say they've influenced so many people's lives. You give me so much hope that the world can one day be more equal in its treatment of children and women. Thank you!

Kathy

^k^

Kathleen Abood's picture

We Can Be Invincible

Your passion for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is clearly a guiding principle in the extraordinary work you are doing. This personal commitment is an inspiration and the essential ingredient we need in this unifying movement. REAL PASSION! There is no looking back.

Kathleen Abood

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