After a week of hard work and fun the project being run by Alejandro Alvarez, Project Manager with Just World International culminated in a viewing by the whole school of a movie of the kids made by the kids.
Fifteen children, male and female, who attend the PIO school at Stung Meanchey, Cambodia had been chosen to participate in this project during which the learned lots about new technology (digital video cameras), editing and making movies. I am certain none of these kids had ever handled a video camera or used a computer before. computers and cameras are not the household items in Cambodia as they are in the West.
They were given ”free reign” to choose what they wanted to film, what was important to them and support to get the shots in the bag. They shot many hours of video which I know took as many hours for Alejandro to plow through and help them put together the movie to be shown to their classmates.
Alejandro told me that the kids were so quick to learn and responsive, with an overwhelming desire to please he was gratified that he had been able to facilitate this process and hoped that it could be continued in some way in the near future.
The classmates had been waiting to see the film and had been watching cartoons playing on the big screen set up in the school yard but their laughs were nothing in comparison to the glee they showed when they saw themselves on the same screen. The laughter and smiles were almost infectious. Even though a few technical problems happened (this is Cambodia) it did not spoil the occasion for the kids.
Each of the particpating 15 children was presented with a certificate of successful completion at the end of the video screening to great applause from their classmates and staff. They did really well.
The time and investment that went into this project was well worth it to see the happiness on the children faces and I am sure they all send a big ”occun chyran” (thank you) to Alejandro and Just World International for making it possible.
Quote from Alejandro
” The critical importance of this workshop is that it empowers the youth to show their perspective, and make them participating actors in asserting their own human right to proper nutrition, education, safety, leisure and opportunities in life. This transformative effect not only touches them, but also all the other hundreds of children and the community of Stung Meanchey who witnessed their effort and now see it on the screen. We hope this to be a snowballing intervention, to encourage self-representation and local action while acquiring the critical skill of video documentation and storytelling, to breach the technological divide. Your old camera sitting in a drawer makes a world difference.”