“The best way to help a person to understand oppression, and to inspire compassion, is to introduce them to those who have suffered human rights abuses. No one is better at telling the stories of victims than themselves. Meeting these heroic individuals in person might not always be possible, but sharing their stories in a personal and vivid way is.”
– Melody Sundberg, founder
Human rights activists and journalists often find themselves the target of the very same human rights violations that they are trying to expose and fight against. I only recently learnt about these injustices. As I began my journey of advocacy, I came in to contact with exiled journalists and bloggers who had experienced these injustices. The oppression against freedom of expression had made them refugees. Many of them shared their stories with me, and the more that I heard, the more certain I became that their stories needed to be told.
The aim of the website Untold Stories is to give voice to the very people who have had their basic human rights taken from them. Untold Stories is a website where jailed journalists and others who have experienced human right violations will be more than numbers in vast statistics. A place where exiled bloggers can share about the challenges that they have faced on the path to expose uncomfortable truths in a repressive regime – and what it is like to be labeled and sentenced as a terrorist. Through personal in-depth interviews, articles, photography, art and other pedagogy, the viewer will be educated on how oppression can complicate and even completely change people’s lives.
The focus is on violations against freedom of expression and press freedom. Untold Stories tells stories focusing on Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt, the countries with the highest number of jailed journalists in Africa. Untold Stories also tells the stories of journalists in exile, mainly coming from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, the countries with the highest number of exiled journalists in Africa. Many of these stories in turn comes from countries where many exiled end up living, such as the United States, Kenya, Uganda and Sweden. However, stories of other kinds of human rights abuses, and in other African countries, are also welcomed.
The purpose of this project is not only to spread awareness and knowledge and thereby giving people cause to care, but just as importantly, it is to support the struggles of the oppressed. The people who share their stories here on Untold Stories are the exact people who have been forced into silence. My hope is that Untold Stories will give a voice to the silenced. They will know they are valuable and that their stories will be told.
Melody Sundberg, Founder
Untold Stories is a non-profit project of the non-profit organization Kalityfonden (The Kality Foundation). The Kality Foundation provides financial support for imprisoned journalists worldwide.