As a part of the „Beyond Words “oral history research project, the Srebrenica Memorial Center (SMC) supported volunteering program for young researchers. This project represents one of the cornerstone activities of the SMC, focusing on recording and indexing oral history - personal testimonies of the Srebrenica genocide survivors and family members of those who were killed in the genocide.
The Memorial Center, through its activities, aims to involve young experts from across the country, and these efforts resulted in providing different opportunities for volunteer work on the research.
Armin Suvalic holds an MA in English, lives and works in Doboj Istok. As one of the programme participants, he underlined that "denial is only possible if those who survived do not continue to remind us all that genocide really happened. Year by year there are fewer witnesses and survivors. If their stories are not recorded, new generations will not have basis to learn and research. I am glad that I had the opportunity to contribute to this collective memory, least in this way, and I hope that the project will fulfill its true purpose," said Armin.
Volunteer work is also an opportunity for the descendants and relatives of the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica to contribute to the work of the Memorial Center.
"Given that I am personally aware of how difficult it is for those who survived to speak and reach out, I feel deep respect for all those who mustered enough courage to be part of the process of documenting history. My motivation is respect and support for all of them, who have enough strength and courage to work on documenting history," noted Azra Delic.
Nidzara Zekic, Master of Law, also participated in the volunteer program: "I have been following the work of the Srebrenica Memorial Center for a long time and I wanted to contribute to their work in some way. That is why I was overjoyed when I was given the opportunity to volunteer on "Beyond words". I can share my experience of working on the project as two-fold; for the first part in which I was delighted with the people who work at MC, and second, it was inspiring to see their effort, work and dedication."
Volunteers made their contribution through the translation of materials, participation in search for 'key words' that will facilitate research work on materials, proofreading and editing of existing materials.
"We are all responsible, to give a part of ourselves, and to do everything we can do, regarding Srebrenica. This is the only way we can show that we share the pain of the victims," adds Muamera Boskailo.
"With these volunteering opportunities, the Srebrenica Memorial Center opened up for young people from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina to participate in the center's activities and contribute to strengthening the capacity of the institution by implementing the "Beyond words" project. Concrete activities which included transcripts, translations and indexing of oral history video stories lasting over 60 hours significantly contribute to the increase of the visual history collection of the MC archives. The project shows how important it is to create a framework for fundamental research work on the preservation of testimonies," concluded Mahir Omerovic, the project coordinator.
Fifty video testimonies will be indexed, as part of the project, providing the basis for content search by both domestic and international researchers.
Translations of the material are currently underway, and on December 9, the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, the "Beyond words" publication will be presented at the Memorial Center, as a result of this research work which was supported through the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by UNDP and UNHCR.
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