FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
In 2008, while on a research trip to Japan, I had the opportunity to spend time scrolling through the oral testimony archives at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. It was very powerful to watch survivors describe their ordeal... more so than reading a book or watching a movie.
That is when it clicked. The same needed to be done for the Partition.
Growing up in India, I had heard stories of Partition within my family. My grandmother described the violent conditions under which they were forced to leave their ancestral homeland. In 1989 my family migrated to the US, where in high school we learned about the horrifying details of the Holocaust. I was perplexed that there was no mention of Partition, an event of similar scale that occurred in South Asia.
In 2010 the last elder from my father’s family with memories of Partition passed on without having his story recorded. Suddenly I became acutely aware of the urgency to preserve oral histories from survivors of Partition. Inspired by what I saw in Hiroshima, I began collecting stories and recruiting volunteers in late 2010.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
In 1947, Mr. Ali was six and lived peacefully with his family in a tiny village called Kasubegu in Punjab. He shared with us a story he had not yet shared with anyone, of how he was orphaned during Partition-related violence. Following the interview, he expressed a feeling of empowerment in sharing his story, especially with his children. Like Mr. Ali, many survivors who have shared their Partition experience express both a sense of confidence in continuing to share their story, and immense gratitude at having the opportunity for being heard and knowing that their story will remain alive for future generations.
Furthermore, our volunteers’ blog is a testament to the profound experience the interviews can be for the interviewers, who often come away forming a deep connection with elders and their shared history.
Through today, 78 volunteers from eight countries have joined hands in collecting over 200 interviews. Over 1000 individuals--the volunteers, the interviewees and their families, have directly been impacted. Local newspaper and radio coverage of our work has raised awareness on Partition and impacted an unknown number of other individuals.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
The successful implementation of our model has already impacted thousands of individuals in California. Requests from individuals around the world who want to share or watch stories, as well as prospective interviewers, have begun pouring in.
With our expanding volunteer base over the next year and enhanced capacity to crowdsource story collection, our expected impact is over 10,000 individuals within a year with the potential to reach millions in five years.
Our system-changing solution can easily be replicated by communities in need of protecting oral histories on topics that vary from cultural preservation to linguistics or memories of historical events.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Complete development of (1) interactive map and (2) infrastructure for crowdsourcing Partition stories. Collect 500 stories.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Collect 1000 stories. Support/promote worldwide Partition education. Build support for a museum/memorial honoring victims.