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Fifteen voices of social, humanitarian, development and peace workers working in their native country or region

When Annina came back to Europe after working in a rural hospital in Bolivia for five months, there was a huge interest in her experiences there. However, when she talked about her work, she always felt there was an essential part of the story missing – that of her Bolivian colleagues – and she knew she could not tell their stories for them. Realising their stories were not available in Western countries, she started to think about a way to change this, and the idea for A Definition of Snow was born. To make this projection of voices possible, she founded Project VOICE, Voices of Individuals Conveying Experiences, in February 2016.

Since then, VOICE has been working tirelessly to collect the stories of individuals from all over the world working or volunteering in social, humanitarian, development or peace-related fields in their home country or region. Our writers come from all corners of the earth and many different fields – from doctors in Bolivia to humanitarian and peace workers in South Sudan and Kenya, from an education worker in India to a Ghanaian UN peacekeeper in Liberia, from an International Red Cross Medical Delegate in Asia to an Eritrean refugee in Germany, our writers have very different stories to tell, very different experiences to share, and very difficult challenges to tackle. A Definition of Snow brings their voices together. Their stories are all different, but they are all thought-provoking, honest, touching, inspiring and encouraging. They challenge the reader to pause and think, and to question their own and others´ perceptions in a uniquely powerful way.

These stories are highly important – and they should be told by those who experienced them and continue to experience them on a daily basis. With foreign aid workers´ stories usually being the only narrative available, the voices of individuals from the country or region are mostly unheard. A Definition of Snow gives a previously unavailable alternative or supplement to the narratives of the media or general publications.

Our contributors are not professional writers –- many of them have never written a story before. They are people who dedicate their lives to working in their field every day, and they tell a story that no-one else could tell. They write about the challenges of being a female medic in rural areas fighting against rape, domestic violence and patients’ inability to afford any treatment. They write about fighting for education, for women´s and children´s rights, for children with disabilities. About overcoming the traumatic experience of fleeing their country and their wish to return and rebuild. About trying to improve the lives of those around them. About overcoming challenges and about their hopes for the future. And they need to be heard.

Annina founded Project VOICE in February 2016 after coming back from working in a rural hospital in Bolivia for half a year. She realised the stories of her Bolivian colleagues were simply not available in the Western world, and decided to change that. Since then, she has been working with dedicated individuals from all over the world, collecting their stories, and bridging geographical and cultural differences, languages and time zones. This would not be possible without an amazing team of volunteers willing to dedicate their time, skills and experience to the project.

Our 10 team members come from 6 different countries, and together we speak 10 different languages. VOICE´s four regional contacts, Sheila, Anouck, Barbara and Caterina, all either come from the region they are responsible for, or have considerable experience living there. They all speak at least one of the regional languages. Our writing advisor, Catherine, is a professional writer who works with Penguin Random House and whose work is translated into 22 languages, as well as a member of PEN Writers’ Circle. Alex, Alena and Florian support the project through media, web and translation work. More information on the team can be found on the VOICE website.

Sheila Chepkoech, Kenya:

I come from Africa, a continent that is very rich in many ways. We are very wealthy in non- material things such as happiness, laughter, joy, contentment, generosity and love among other things. We are also wealthy in natural resources, breathtaking scenery and fertile land. However, we are famously known in the western world for poverty, disease, corruption and war. The truth is, we are more than that and there is our side of the story that is often not told. Although poverty, suffering, pain and poverty exist among us, just like they do in many other societies around the world, what is often left out is the resilience, passion and the sacrifice by which majority of the African people rise amid the difficult circumstances around them. The genuine joy and laughter that emanate from our hearts regardless of challenges surrounding us. And most importantly the hope that is always burning in our hearts and the courage to dare the impossible.

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Official start of our crowdfunding campaign!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Exciting times!!!

It´s the official start of our crowdfunding campaign today- and we are thrilled to have reached 5% funding in just a couple of hours! A huge thank you to all those early birds who already supported "A Definition of Snow"! Now it´s 95 % to go- so, if you haven´t pledged yet, help us make the book possible by doing so now!

We will be back soon with more updates on the project…

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