Memory work toolkit

Cover pictures painted by children for the Memory Work Toolkit
In 2006, terre des hommes schweiz, in partnership with, the specialist platform for HIV/Aids, brought out a "toolkit" for memory work. From the start, it was very well received by representatives of aid agencies in Switzerland and their partners in the South. A new edition has been available since 2010.

Thanks to valuable feedback from a number of countries, we learned that the memory work approach was applicable and helpful not only in connection with HIV/Aids, but also in other contexts.

Solution-focused memory work
The biggest innovation in the revised edition of the toolkit, called "Treasuring Memories", is the consistent use of a solution-focused approach. It gives memory work a deeper and wider scope, leading to a more affirmative attitude to the future. Because the people affected are regarded as experts on their own lives, they gain in self-confidence, assurance and courage, enabling them to see their own future in a new light and shape it themselves. Taking a solution-focused approach to memory work is a very promising concept and benefits not only people affected by Aids but anyone who consciously wants to be in control of their own life - or death.

A common thread through people's lives
The general term "memory work" refers to creative methods of exploring your own story. It is important to look for the "common thread" running through people's lives, in order to recognise the survival strategies that will give them strength.

Toolkit in four languages
The new toolkit contains stories and experiences about different types of memory work, manuals for group leaders, a short film about memory work and one about the solution-focused approach in Africa. The toolkit is available in English, French, German and Portuguese. The Portuguese version was produced at the request of our partner organisations in Mozambique. Until then, with no knowledge of English, people had no access to memory work in this country that has been so severely affected by Aids.

For more information, please contact:
Irène Bush
061 338 91 42


Projects in which memory work plays an important role:


  • Youth work to prevent violence against women and girls
  • Aids orphans gain a new perspective

  • Psychosocial support for children and young people affected by HIV/Aids

South Africa:
  • Support for children and young people affected by violence