Kenyan kids get behind the camera

We've found Kenya to be a hard working place and in that spirit have been shooting like crazy! As we move on to new cities and projects we'll be working to write a bit more about our experiences. Till then "haraka haraka hiena baraka", "hurry hurry has no blessing."

When we made a plan to teach Kenyan kids to create videos it was a pretty simple idea: bring the cameras, show the kids how to use them… And see what happens. Of course, in teaching (and in Africa!) you never know what the days have in store for you.

What we didn't expect was the way the school seemed to overnight be filled with students with cameras…. pointing them at friends, cows, us… documenting life around them. The idea of capturing the images that travel through your eyes seems to be a natural impulse, especially for kids.

Our teaching began with the fundamentals of the camera, the principles of taking a good shot and the basics of film/video as a vocation. We even had time to delve into the basics of plot and creating story. As we met in the library each day I noticed a few students who seemed to be captivated by the process… One day after class three boys came up to me and presented ideas for short films they'd spent the previous night working on. I can remember that moment of discovery myself… When I realized I could create something out of nothing. I'm confident that if we can provide that opportunity to just a few of these students that the important images and stories will not be far behind.

As we left the school on the last day I saw Job, the amazing school librarian and computer teacher (and soon to be video teacher!), talking with the kids about creating their first short film. It made me realize that with a little equipment, some basic knowledge and a great teacher like Job, we can help kids tell their own stories. That is a beautiful thing and also a viable pathway for non profit video to become a sustainable part of communications strategy.

The more we can help people tell their own stories the better. So we are excited to continue developing this idea of video training. Until then look out for what I can assure you will be some awesome Sundance film festival entries from Mbaka Oromo primary school.


1 Comment

  1. Bruce
    June 11, 2010

    So many things that can be done with their videos…it boogles the mind and is very exciting to think about. I think about it as an opening to Kenyan culture like Paul Simon did with South African music…

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