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Project for Salone Oral History on Civil War

Director of Jeneba Project, Joseph Kaifala has told Reporters that the Memory Project will give Sierra Leoneans the opportunity to give oral history about the brutal civil war that happened in Sierra Leone.
The project will serve as “a platform for justice”, granting an avenue to the voices and experiences of children and youths who were most affected by the war and continue to be most vulnerable in society.
He added that this project is an oral history project dedicated to recording testimonies from former child soldiers, amputees, rape victims, all those who lived through the war, to ensure that the history of the civil war is preserved in order to confront the horrors of our past and to help prevent repetition of similar atrocities.
The Sierra Leonean based Director in the United States and an International Law Student explained that as a Sierra Leonean and ever since the civil war ended I think our best means of developing this country will be to invest on the education of the children.
“The idea of the Memory Project is that people will be granted an opportunity to provide oral history not only for current generation but for future generation of Sierra Leoneans”, he said.
He disclosed that this idea came to mind because since he has been coming to Sierra Leone during which periods has being to schools to assess the educational system, he came to realize that most of the children in schools today don’t know anything about the war. “I believe it is our responsibility as the older generation to make sure that the future generation understands where we went wrong,” he said.
The Director stated that he believes in the Memory Project as important for Sierra Leone, noting that this is what happens in many countries were brutal civil wars have been fought.
“There is a Memory project going on in Rwanda, South Africa and many other post conflict countries around the world. We are granting Sierra Leoneans the chance to tell their story in audio and video format so that in the future we intend to provide a structure where people can actually go and reflect on what happened in this country,” the Director stated.
He reiterated that full-length testimonies as well as shorter and more accessible video clips would be made available to the public, accompanied by written transcripts for easy browsing online. Testimonies will be presented in numerous ways as part of larger educational programs for high schools and colleges in Sierra Leone and the United States and as an exhibit in a future memorial in Sierra Leone, which the Jeneba Project will be creating at a larger stage.
Kaifala said he was undertaking this project as his contribution to the development of his country by educating the young children of the country about what transpired the country that they were not part of.
He noted, “When you educate people, you provide with the means and tools to develop their own lives without depending on others at all times.”
He said he founded the Jeneba Project to talk about all those things that led to the war, noting, “We have a lot of underlying issues in this country that we have not addressed as a people such as the factors that made us take arms against one another”.
The Jeneba Project is a charitable organisation providing scholarships for girls and providing long-lasting educational infrastructure such as libraries and schools.
By Abibatu Kamara

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