Humans have a tendency to use stories to make sense of the world. It's are our natural way to understand what it feels like to be someone else, and stories help connect us across our differences. Storytelling is a tool for building community through empathy and understanding.

Why do we use First Person Stories? 

The Worker History Project is a platform for workers to be heard. We consider the project as a collection of stories, rather than interviews with a curated angle. We want to avoid being an authority or author to another person's life, and while we can open our eyes, ears and hearts to try  and understand another person, it will always be limited.

We understand our role as storyteller, and these narratives are to showcase a piece to the complexity of worker's lives. However, we believe first person stories are the best way to extend our awareness a little bit further, and preserve the workers voice.  

The worker History Project seeks to:

1. engage workers with each other

The Project seeks to connect workers with other workers. The strength and power of the union rests in each individual worker. When we as workers share in each others' joy and struggles, we are part of a profound act of solidarity. We hope these stories will highlight the strength and resilience of our members as well as build and reinforce solidarity between workers.

Stories hold groups, organizations and movements together. Every worker has our own life story--our own triumphs, endeavors, struggles, memories, and loved ones. The union is bound by these stories that come together to form a collective story of people who empower each other to fight for freedom, equality and decent work. The stories highlight the lived practice of union principles: solidarity, engagement and mobilization. 

2. Unveil the lives and stories behind Consumerism.

The project seeks to highlight the lives behind commodities and the stories of the people who produce the products we buy. We hope these stories will cultivate a deeper understanding of workers' lives, showing how important sourcing and buying products locally is.    

3. Trace the Union's History

The Project hopes to trace the union's roots, helping us develop a deeper understanding of the people and stories who have shaped the union into the organization it is today. 

stories as a way to change a system

 

We must never forget where we came from, and what we are fighting for. -Desmond Mathe

Things happen, people tell stories about them. Then – life passes quickly – the events and stories are faintly remembered or totally forgotten. But in the black communities of South Africa perhaps we remember our stories for a little longer than other people do. After all, for so many years now, we have owned our stories while owning so little else.- Ellen Kuzwayo

Some people say when we are born we’re born into stories. I say we’re also born from stories.-Ben Okri

Gone, Buried and Covered by the dust of defeat –Or so the conquerors believed but there is nothing that can be hidden from the mind nothing that memory cannot reach or touch or call back.-Don Mattera

Things happen, people tell stories about them. Then – life passes quickly – the events and stories are faintly remembered or totally forgotten. But in the black communities of South Africa perhaps we remember our stories for a little longer than other people do. After all, for so many years now, we have owned our stories while owning so little else.- Ellen Kuzwayo

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie