In 2004, with financial assistance from the “Manusher Jonno Foundation” the museum embarked on a programme that was to become one of the hallmarks of this activity oriented museum. It started ‘busing-in’ students from the various schools of Dhaka city and give them a short exposure to the museum, hold a quiz programme and also educate students on their rights as children and human beings and also educate them on becoming global citizens, in which tolerance and a pluralist society was promoted. This programme was expanded in 2007 when the museum was able to acquire a 40 ft. bus which enabled us to bring the Museum to the reach of schoolchildren in the remotest villages of the country. A new dimension was also added to the usual school programme in this reach-out programme. The students were encouraged to interview their relatives/friends who had witnessed or taken part in the war and write down these first-hand and real time accounts and send it to the Museum. Over the last 7 years, this has evolved into a “Oral History” collection, of 21,000 pieces of writing which, we have been given to understand (unconfirmed) is the second largest collection of oral history documents in the world.
Up until June of 2014, 147,000 school-children of Dhaka city and over 561,000 school-children in the remotest parts of the country have been exposed to the history of the country and have received education on human rights and the need for tolerance in today’s society. In the evenings, the exhibits of the bus has been visited by children from nearby schools, which were not part of the education programme and also by the adults in that village. An exact count has not been taken, but our estimate is that another 350,000 children and adults have visited the exhibits in the bus in this way. The Bangladesh Government has been impressed enough by the success that this reach-out programme has achieved that they have donated a second bus to the Museum, thus doubling our capacity to visit rural areas. So far the buses have covered 48 out of the 64 districts of the country. The human rights and the tolerance programmes are presented to the students through a series of cartoon-posters, which have been created by two of the most eminent painters of the country.
LWM-IFDLHR is a festival dedicated to documentary cinema, seeking to highlight Liberation and Human Rights struggle of people in various parts of the world and its contemporary significance. It seeks to uphold new forms of viewing the human communication in global perspective. LWM-IFDLHR also focuses on breaking new ground and on the great diversity and vitality of ‘Cinema of reality’, the documentary genre. Organized by Liberation War Museum, a peoples’ museum dedicated to highlight the history of Bangladesh’s struggle of Independence and its presentation to new generation. LWM International Festival of Docufilms on Liberation and Human Rights is usually held in January.
The museum has sponsored an institute for studies in Genocide in association with the Open University, Bangladesh. The first certificate course has already been completed and about 30 participants from all walks of life participated in the course. The Centre is hoping to hold a three month long certificate course in August. Eminent personalities in the field of Genocide and Justice in the country together with international experts like Prof. Daniel Fierstein, Dr. Adam Jones, Prof. Laurel Fletcher, Dr. Trudy Peterson, Mr. Ashis Nandy, Amy Fagin and others are members of its Advisory Board.
This Institute is still in its formative stages and like the Centre for Genocide Studies, it will also be associated with a University in Bangladesh. Amongst the faculty members of the institute will be academicians and direct participants in the War as well as eminent international personalities who are connected with the Bangladesh War of Liberation of 1971.