Radio La Benevolencija Humanitarian Tools Foundation (Radio La Benevolencija) takes as its role model La Benevolencija Sarajevo, a local organization that played a unique humanitarian role during the Bosnian war (1992-1995). It is as a result of founding Director George Weiss’ work for this organization, that a group of Amsterdam-based Media professionals was inspired in 2002 to set up an organisation to produce media projects in La Benevolencija’s unique spirit of solidarity with- and empowerment of people that are the targets of Hate violence.
La Benevolencija Sarajevo was part of the city’s Jewish community, which had assumed a neutral stance during the conflict, Its members were used as trusted neutral interlocutors by the three warring parties (Serbs, Croats and Bosnians). La Benevolencija (“Good will” in the ladino language) was this group’s Humanitarian organisation. Uniquely, its members learned to use the neutral status of their community to help others in situations similar to their own age-old history of persecution. During years of siege , they managed to supply up to forty percent of Sarajevo’s medicines and smuggled approximately 3,000 refugees of all ethnicities – Muslims, Serbs and Croats – out of the city with neutral documents identifuing them as “Jews.” In due time, the organization evolved into an ethnic mix and came to be regarded as a symbol for empathy – a group of former victims who had learned to empower themselves and now helped others do the same, acting against the hatred fanning ethnic aggression.
The Amsterdam organisation has no line other then symbolic with the Sarajevo organisation. It is strictly non-ethnic, non-denominational and non-governmental. It promotes an agenda of sanity, empathy and mutual help among minorities and individuals who are the target of hate violence, as well as among societies that have suffered its consequences.
The projects of Radio La Benevolencija HTF have gained international acclaim for their unique combination of applied psychology with education-entertainment techniques (edutainment). Radio La Benevolencija has been working in the Great Lakes Region since 2003. The Great Lakes Region in Africa, which comprises countries such as Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the most densely populated areas on earth and has been widely plagued by violence for the past half-century