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The travelling exhibition Anne Frank - A History for Today was launched in Colombo in 2015. The exhibition was shown in severalcities in Sri Lanka. Peer guide trainings and teacher seminars took place in which the themes of the exhibition were linked to the Sri Lankan War.
A pilot project was conducted in Jaffna by the Anne Frank House Amsterdam in 9 -16 December 2015 at the Jaffna Public Library. The project was financed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sri Lanka. All activities were supported by Shanthiham, the local partner in Jaffna.
Since then the exhibition has toured, various parts of Sri Lanka, including some of the plantation schools, with the help of The Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust (NTT).
The travelling exhibition
Many visitors to the exhibition Anne Frank - a History for Today connected Anne Frank’s story to the events which occurred in the Northern Province during the Sri Lankan civil war. Students, teachers, and the general public could easily see the parallels with their own history, and felt that the project was not only moving, but also served as an example and as a way of remembering their own stories. It was also held that such an exhibition was a very good and useful teaching tool.
Peer Guide Training and Teacher Seminar
A total of 32 students from 15 schools participated in a two-day peer guide training. The topics covered were the history of Anne Frank, the Holocaust, and its contemporary relevance. The students expressed the view that such trainings not only helped develop their factual knowledge of the Second World War but also to contextualise their awareness of Human Rights violations, while enjoying the overall interactive nature of activity-based learning.
Teachers were trained to use the story of Anne Frank and the Holocaust as a starting point, adding their own history and current events. Teachers expressed the desire to employ such methods in their classroom. They were also very positive about the increase in the factual knowledge of the Second World War. Furthermore, they mentioned that the seminar and exhibition inspired them to think about a way of visualising their own history: I have a similar dream for Sri Lanka, to have our youth who endured hardship, portrayed like that, said a teacher during the seminar.
We would like to thank our partners for making this project successful: the Embassy of the Netherlands in Sri Lanka, The Goethe Institute Colombo, Shanthiham in Jaffna, and the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust in Colombo.