Life Stories: Older people talked and young people wrote
Through the development of mutual intergenerational understanding, the ‘Life Stories’ project encouraged the development of relationships between young people and the older generation as a contribution towards preventing ageism. Ingrid Eyers reports.
Organised by the Commonwealth affiliated association CommonAge young people (15-24) talked to older people to learn about their lives and wrote an essay to be submitted to a competition.
The resulting essays give privileged insights into personally endured experiences over the last 70 to 100 years. Memories of natural disasters and wars show how these have shaped the personal lives of the storytellers. To conclude the author was asked to write about what they had personally gained from this experience. It is clear the life histories made a significant impression.
One of the five best essays was written by two 16 year olds from Cyprus who wrote that hearing the life story altered their view on society and its flaws. A young Maltese author commented on how much more she now appreciated the fact that today Malta is at peace, that she has a roof over her head and has food to eat. If it hadn’t been for the sacrifices of people like the older person she spoke to history and our lives would have been very different.
This project has clearly shown how younger people benefit and their attitudes changed when they properly engage with the older generation. The resulting e-book with 50 stories from 22 countries will be launched in early March.