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August 30, 2017

Support the War Childhood Project!

type: Authors, Donation, Education, Project, Volunteering
by: Deniz Zehra Tavli

Entering the War Childhood Museum in the historical centre of Sarajevo, the first thing visitors can see is a colorful swing for children. An item like any other, one might think, until one reads a text on the wall describing its history and meaning for a small boy somewhere in the Yugoslavian countryside, in a region of what is today the nation of Bosnia and Hercegovina. This little swing was the only thing which made him forget the miseries and difficulties, the loss and pain a child has to endure when it witnesses war. And saved his life while his house was bombed down.

The War Childhood Museum opened in Sarajevo in January 2017. The Museum‘s collection contains a number of personal belongings like the before mentioned colorful swing, next to many more stories, audio and video testimonies, photographs, letters, drawings and other documents offering valuable insight into the unique experience of growing up in wartime. The idea started with a book: In June 2010, the author of the project Jasminko Halilović (29) launched a call for people who spent a part of their childhood in war to send a short answer to the question ‘What was a war childhood for you?’ In the first three months, over 1,000 people from 35 different countries sent their memories. The idea was to tell the stories of war survivors by creating a mosaic of memories out of these short and unique attachments. The edition of these recollections, initially supposed to last for several months, in the end lasted for about two years. The book which gathered these memories with the title "War Childhood - Sarajevo 1992-1995" was finally published in 2013. During this time, Halilovic kept staying in touch with 1000 of the participants. Inspired by their different stories as well as by their personal belongings shown to him, Halilović elaborated the concept of ‘War Childhood Museum’, which was finally realized four years later.

The crucial part of the War Childhood Museum represents this collection of personal belongings of war survivors. However, these objects do not express much if standing on their own. Their importance lies exactly in the meaning they have for their owner. Therefore, every item that is displayed in the Museum is accompanied by a personal story of its owner, like the little swing which saved a small boy from being hit by a granade.

If you would like to support this greatly humane project, you can support the War Childhood team by visiting the museum, volunteering as a team member, helping them  financially by buying the book "War Childhood - Sarajevo 1992-1995" or you may promote it in your circles of preference.