Shweta Dewan

Shweta Dewan (Bosnian Family – BOSFAM): Shweta was born and brought up in Zambia. This has greatly influenced her outlook on development and her understanding of society. After completing her BA in government from the University of Texas at Austin, Shweta returned home to Zambia to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She went on to work with the USAID-funded American Institutes for Research, where she gained practical experience implementing microfinance projects for widows and young school girls. She later worked at United Nations Children’s Fund in Zambia. At the time of her fellowship she was a graduate student at Columbia University pursuing a dual-degree in international affairs and public health. After her fellowship, Shweta wrote: "I feel that so many people still do not know about the magnitude of what happened in Bosnia and the effects that still make the lives of so many in Bosnia so difficult. There are still many eyes to be opened – something the Advocacy Project has learnt how to do well, and so yes, I do feel that there is a message that needs to be made heard, and supported, with AP’s help."



DC – NY – Lusaka – Tuzla

20 May

I’m sitting here in Washington, thinking of my hectic schedule ahead of me: tomorrow back to New York, the day after on my way to Zambia and a week later I’ll be headed to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such is the life of an AP Peace Fellow! I went to the Bosnian Embassy this morning and was welcomed into the temporary dilemma they were having: no phone, no internet and no fax services at a time when the Bosnian President was in town. Nevertheless, the visa had been previously printed, was pasted on my passport and stamped within five minutes – the process was the quickest, most unusual, yet efficient embassy experience I have ever had. I can only hope my 12 weeks in Bosnia is just as smooth and unique.

BOSFAM, aka the Bosnian Family, is the Advocacy Project’s partner organization in Bosnia with whom I will be working with. It caters to women who were greatly affected by the Srebrenica Massacre that took place in 1995. Through the weaving of traditional Bosnian carpets these women create awareness, engage people in discussions of the massacre and generate income for their livelihoods. One of my main projects will be the Memorial Quilt which is made by these very women and honors those who were killed during the massacre. Several groups and individuals, including those from the Bosnian diaspora, sponsor panels of the quilt. This enables the display of their work and thus becomes indicative of their hardships. The finances are used to engage other younger weavers in the advocacy efforts and also work as a method of income generation. Although the later is not the sole mission of the project, I hope it will be an issue that we give significant attention to as well.

I am extremely excited for the opportunities I will have this summer. An open mind, a camera in my hand and the expectation to see beautiful sceneries is how I plan on starting my long journey…starting tomorrow…

Posted By Shweta Dewan

Posted May 20th, 2008

3 Comments

  • heather

    May 21, 2008

     

    “Such is the life of an AP Peace Fellow! I went to the Bosnian Embassy this morning and was welcomed into the temporary dilemma they were having: no phone, no internet and no fax services at a time when the Bosnian President was in town.”

    You’ve got it totally right. Exactly like an AP Peace Fellow. However, don’t expect everything to follow exactly as neatly as that. I know you don’t.

  • Pia

    May 22, 2008

     

    Enjoy! Bosfam is a wonderful organization and the women will welcome you with open arms. And Bosnia is a great place to be, I wish I were going with you!

    Best regards
    Pia (AP Fellow with Bosfam in 2004)

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