I’m 15 years old and in my second year of high school. I’ve had an interest in social justice since I was eight years old when I had the opportunity to see Craig Kielburger, the founder of Free the Children, speak about the issues concerning children living in poverty without access to education and basic human rights. I was so impressed that he started his organization at the young age of 12. I remember this talk well. It was the moment that inspired me to get involved in social justice clubs at my school, as well as summer leadership and peace camps. I even started my own social justice club and invited other young people from my neighborhood to get involved. We were a small but committed group. Together we raised money with greeting card and bake sales for local causes such as women’s shelters and a children’s emergency ward at the local hospital. I noticed doing this helped build a sense of community.
Craig Kielburger and I
My card and bake sale
This past March I had the incredible opportunity to attend the United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women as a youth delegate for the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. The topic was about the elimination and prevention of all of forms of violence against women and girls. It was an eye-opening experience. I met incredible people who all had a passion for making the world a better place. I was very moved by the resilience and courage of some of the women who came from all over the world to share their own stories of violation and oppression.
Throughout my week at the United Nations, I had to the opportunity to observe the power of documentary filmmaking as a tool for advocacy and came back home with more of a commitment to pursue my craft. That’s when the idea for the project came to me.
My aim, as the Sunrise Storyteller of the Global Sunrise Project, is to use my love for photography and film to make a short documentary about people doing good things to make a difference in their own lives and in their communities, despite what adversity they may face. I'm interested in issues concerning women and children, poverty, education, environment, and culture. As a young entrepreneur, I also have a focus on finding interesting alternative income projects that help lift people out of poverty. I want to document people who are trying to make changes in a positive way, even with all the obstacles in their path. The stories I tell will be of hope.
Why is hope my focus? As I become more aware of the world, I’ve noticed that we don’t really see much good portrayed in mainstream media. We hear depressing news day after day about issues and politics that never seem to change. As a teenager, I don’t find this very motivating. Many of my peers also have the sense that they shouldn’t even bother and they feel hopeless. Through my visual storytelling I will try to help educate and open people’s hearts to believe that we are all in this together and that there are creative solutions to be found. My intent for this project is to bring stories to life that may not otherwise be heard.
My mom and I are planning to leave this March and travel through South America, South Africa, Africa, and South East Asia. This seems to be the best time to leave because I have to be back in school in September to start to prepare for my most important year of high school prior to university. We will be visiting organizations and projects along the way.
I plan to have my film completed to screen in 2015, just in time for when the United Nations gathers again to review the Millennium Development Goals that were agreed upon in the year 2000.
My film will not be scripted. It will be shaped by the stories and places I encounter and will be told through my lens. It will also focus on how the experiences help to shape me into a better global citizen.
I am currently fundraising for this project through an Indiegogo campaign and would appreciate your support.
This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.
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