Working with the Savera UK Youth Group
Last night turned out to be a very rewarding finale session of our youth film project. The young people were all asked to come to be interviewed about their experience for a 'behind the scenes' video.
It's always humbling working on a project with Savera. There's the inspiration that is Afrah herself, the very dedicated and completely lovely team behind her and the strength and dignity of the clients.
Working with the youth group has been no different, they've become increasingly impressive as the months have gone on.
They first attended a few sessions during their summer holidays, a small group of complete strangers from totally different backgrounds. Then they kept coming as the nights drew darker and colder, pushing through traffic and rain after a full day at school or college.
Then there was the 8am start during half-term, the weekend filming days and everything else that was asked of them. Things they weren't always completely comfortable with, such as going infront of the camera or writing a speech.
Even attending last night was an extra request because all the other sessions have been so jam-packed and busy, we hadn't been able to get the interviews done.
Since the conference a few weeks ago, I've been editing all the footage we've accumulated during the project. Nobody ever likes hearing the sound of their own voice and it made for pretty uncomfortable listening, hearing myself 'direct' the film.
I saw it all from the young people's point of view. Constant instructions and countless requests to do something 'one more time', then 'just one more time' and then 'I promise this is the last time'. It reminded me how patient they were and that actually, those last shoot days were highly pressured and intense.
So when it came to interviewing them all in turn last night, there was one question I really wanted to ask them to satisfy my own curiosity. 'Why? What made you want to keep coming back when you didn't have to?'
Overall, their answers were pretty much the same, and a little bit surprising. It wasn't because they got to meet Maya Jama, play with cameras or spend time with new friends (although it sounds like all of those things helped), it was really because they felt like they were making a difference.
And they were. The conference was a resounding success. Without exception, everybody who attended was amazed at how well they executed themselves. Savera has plans to keep working with the group and they all want to stay involved.
The film they've produced is fantastic and there are plans to use it as a vehicle to raise more awareness for Savera next year.
A long list of successful outcomes, but to me, the true value of the project lies in their answer to my question.
It shows that you can educate and inform young people to raise awareness, but if you can also teach them they have the power to bring about change - and give them the platform and the confidence to do so - then they will.
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