UNICEF, One Laptop per Child (OLPC), and Google have announced the launch of "Our Stories" (www.ourstories.org), a joint initiative to preserve and share the histories and identities of cultures around the world by making personal stories available online in many languages.
Using laptops, mobile phones, and other recording devices, children will record, in their native languages, the stories of elders, family members, and friends. These stories will be shared globally through the Our Stories website, where they can be found on a Google Map.
By making these stories accessible around the world, the Our Stories project hopes to contribute to a better understanding of our shared humanity across countries and cultures, across religious traditions, across languages, and across generations.
"Information technologies can help young people around the world learn more about each other," said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. "Our Stories will promote dialogue across borders and cultures and give young people a voice on a wide range of issues."
Low-cost XO laptops by One Laptop per Child will serve as a foundation to help build this digital archive of personal stories by providing children in developing countries with easy-to-use technology to record their stories and interviews.
The Our Stories website will initially include stories collected by Brazil’s Museum of the Person and stories recorded for UNICEF by young people in Ghana, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Our Stories has taken inspiration from the StoryCorps project in the U.S. founded by MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay.
More stories from more countries will be added to the site every month in an effort to preserve an oral history of humanity in the 21st Century.
Leading figures have already lent their voices to the project: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan and UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, and Ishmael Beah, UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War and best-selling author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier , have all recorded messages welcoming users to the site and encouraging them to share their stories.
Listen to a story at www.ourstories.org.
Source: UNICEF, www.unicef.org