Newsletter: Finding Stars & Fighting Stereotypes

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A Message from the Executive Director

Like many of you who are receiving this email, I am feeling overwhelmed. From the Korean Peninsula to the islands of Puerto Rico; from the devastating terrorist attack in Mogadishu to the recent tragedy in lower-Manhattan, there are new crises every day that demand our attention, our empathy, and with more frequency, our outrage.

At FilmAid, we believe during times of compounding crises like these, the power of film is not just important, but absolutely essential. 

Storytelling, photography, and filmmaking provide more than the spark that ignites social change. They are the fuel that keeps us fighting in the face of any obstacle. 

"The real challenge is not simply to survive... It's to survive as yourself undiminished" - Elia Kazan

The stories below are each about FilmAid students and staff using art and storytelling to not just survive, but "to survive as ourselves, undiminished."

Thank you for remaining steadfast in your solidarity, and strong in your support of refugees half way around the world who are struggling to lift up their communities.

With gratitude, 

Keefe Murren
Executive Director | FilmAid International

 

Life-Saving Information: UPENN and FilmAid

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Collaboration is the Only Solution

FilmAid initiated a powerful collaboration with UPENN this past July. Together 8 UPENN students and 16 FilmAid students produced a comprehensive “welcome kit” video for new refugee arrivals in Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee settlements. The project was built from the ground up as an opportunity for youth to meaningfully collaborate and learn together while delivering life-saving information to displaced people in dire need.

FilmAid Executive Director at UPENN

The project with UPENN culminated in a presentation at the Perry World House on UPENN's campus. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Populations, Refugees and Migration, Anne Richard along with Professor of Cinema Studies, Peter Decherney and FilmAid Executive Director Keefe Murren hosted a presentation of the "welcome kit" along with a virtual reality project that the UPENN students produced during their time in Kakuma. Three UPENN participants joined the discussion as well, with Sonari Chidi summing up the inspiration behind the project by celebrating the resilience and creativity of refugees themselves: “People don’t consider that refugees had a full and vibrant life before they became refugees,” Chidi said. “This experience of being a refugee isn’t all that they are. They’re so much more than that."

Photo: Courtesy of Peter Decherney, UPENN Cinema Studies Professor.

 

Stories not Stereotypes: a FilmAid Documentary

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In October, FilmAid Kenya premiered a documentary in prime time on one of Kenya's biggest broadcasters. A Journey Through My City is a documentary about Kenyans and refugees building communities of mutual support and respect, as told by the the communities themselves. The film follows Anne Nyandeng, a young woman recently arrived from South Sudan, and Ignatius Lokitare, an older, visually impaired man from the Turkana community. Anne and Ignatius take the viewer on a tour of the diverse  communities they call their own, and introduce us to the many ways that both the Kenyan and refugee community are already benefiting from working together as neighbors.

The documentary was produced by FilmAid for a UK funded program called  SPARK (Support and Protection for Affected Refugees in Kenya) which seeks to integrate refugees into Kenyan society through skills training. The goal of the documentary was to show how these different cultures - refugees and Kenyans - can both benefit from their unique ingenuity and creativity.

FilmAid’s production team spent 6 weeks researching and filming the stories with the different communities in Kakuma and Kalobeyei, to capture the true power and potential of the people living both in and around the camp. With our Kenyan and refugee production team, FilmAid was able to compellingly push back against stereotypes that create obstacles in the search for solutions. 

Funded by the Department For International Development (DFID).

 

 

Indie Spirit Lives on in Kakuma Refugee Camp

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Move over Tarantino, Here Comes Amina

If the spirit of indie film is to get your movie made no matter what, then you can't get more indie than Amina Rwimo Hortence.

Made with her own money, in a refugee camp, and with her friends as cast and crew, her film, It Has Killed My Mother is a testament to the indie spirit, and to Amina's singular strength and talent. Amina's film is a love story between a young man and a young woman. Their love turns tragic when the birth of their first child takes the life of the young mother because of the effects of female genital mutilation. Through the compelling story and characters, the film is an emotional and defiant call to end violence against women and girls.

Amina started her film career as a student in FilmAid’s Skills Development program in 2015 and has worked as a Film Training Facilitator with FilmAid ever since. In 2016, Amina and her filmmaking partner Adbul Patient started their own independent production company, Exile Key Films. With their skills and ambition they are earning an income making videos for NGOs, events, weddings and more. It Has Killed My Mother is their first original production. 

“If it was not for the training I got from Filmaid I couldn’t have achieved what I have today. The training I received made me who I am.” - Amina Rwino Hortenc

Amina's film won the top prize for best film, best screenplay and best actress at the Slum Film Festival. The film will soon be featured at the Global Migration Film Festival being show around the world in December. 

 

 

Ending Discrimination through Hip-hop and Soul

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FilmAid launched its inaugural talent scouting program, Finding a Star, to push positive images of refugees in the media, and give opportunities to FilmAid trained youth to use their videography, public relations and music production skills. FilmAid teamed up with popular Kenyan hip-hop artist WYRE to engage young, talented musicians and FilmAid’s Media students under the Media Entrepreneurship Training Program. FilmAid staff and the stars themselves have appeared on TV and in the national press promoting the project, and showing that refugees can contribute to their societies.


Click here to view the music video for South Sudanese refugee Mercy Akuot's new hit single, Anavyo ni Fanya ni Hisi (The Way He Makes Me Feel). 

Click here to view Turkana hip-hop artist, Scooby Lincos' song Kazi Tu (Just Work).

FilmAid's Finding a Star project promotes youth economic empowerment through music and video production, with FilmAid students learning music journalism, public relations, video production and entrepreneurship. Finding a Star has encouraged and engaged young musicians and media professionals to create new opportunities for themselves. Read more about the project here.

Artists from Dadaab use creativity to combat early marriage and protect girls.

ART FOR CHANGE - CHILD FRIENDLY MESSAGING

By Eric Sande, FilmAid Journalism Trainer, Dadaab

Artists work on mural paintings in Dagahaley Camp, Dadaab

Artists work on mural paintings in Dagahaley Camp, Dadaab

Dadaab Refugee Settlement provides an expansive canvas for artists to express themselves. Moving through the vast camps that house roughly 250,000 people, you can be overwhelmed by the dust and haze, but if you're lucky you may catch a glimpse of lively and strikingly colorful  works of art on the public walls that line camps.  These large-scale murals are the work of refugee artists who were supported by FilmAid's team of fine arts trainers and messaging strategists. 

Ifo 1, a camp that houses victims of the 2011 famine in Somalia, now welcomes guests and visitors with a vibrantly colorful mural spanning the 1000 square meter perimeter wall. The artwork is a series of panels depicting moments from a typical Somali girl's life, and celebrating her ability to make her own choices. The goal of the project is to provide context as well as a call-to-action for the community to engage in difficult discussions about female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage - cultural practices that have disadvantaged young women across many African countries. 

Initially, FilmAid and the young artists experienced resistance from some members of the community. They were concerned that the art work and its message would not be in accord with their faith. FilmAid's community-based approach demands that we be sensitive to and work with the community. This ensures not only the effectiveness of the message, but also helps protect the individual artists from accusations that they are not adhering to their faith. 

A young Ethiopian who participated in the project, Mulugeta Gashaw Yifru (pictured below), said,"the first time we made our drawings in Dagahaley camp, the Somali Refugees destroyed our work but after talking to them about its importance, they accepted the drawings and guarded them."

Mulugeta Gashaw Yifru, Dadaab 2017

Mulugeta Gashaw Yifru, Dadaab 2017

"Our Trainer, Handerson Kiruri, made it easy for me to learn how to express myself with paint, and draw human beings, using shade, proportion and other techniques," according to Mulugeta.

The four Dadaab camps are home to approximately half a million refugees, mainly from the Somali community who are estimated to comprise of 97 percent of the total population.

The art pieces about FGM provoke and provide a positive context for conversations among Somalis in the camp, and provides support for the section of the Somali community who would like to end the practice.

"There is nothing as beautiful as refugee artists using their talent in drawing to pass informative messages that are influencing positive behavior change in their community," says Fatuma Roba, the artists’ Project Supervisor.  "The project aims at providing a platform for children’s voices to be heard and respected," She adds.

Child Friendly Messaging Campaign, Dadaab 2017

Child Friendly Messaging Campaign, Dadaab 2017

FilmAid International conducted a two week, intensive training with nine young artists from the Dadaab Refugee Settlements. Through the workshops participants were able to develop their technical skills as well as expand their ability to incorporate stories, emotions and messages into their art. 

Child Friendly Spaces, Ifo2 Camp, Dadaab; mural created with the support of Inter-Agency Child Protection Working Group (IACPWG)

Child Friendly Spaces, Ifo2 Camp, Dadaab; mural created with the support of Inter-Agency Child Protection Working Group (IACPWG)

With the guidance and mentorship of the trainer, the artists made sketches that were later transferred to five walls. The trainer directly participated in the production of one mural in Dagahaley Camp and supervised the production of the four murals that were painted by the Fine Arts Program trainees. As part of empowering the community, this initiative has provided the trainees with a job opportunity to complete the remaining four murals this September in Hagadera camp.  

Since the paintings were completed, children in Dadaab have identified and engaged with the wall mural paintings and were able to easily interpret the messages behind the drawings and showed great interest.

This project was supported by Terre des Homme and Save the Children

Susan Luka Mangu: How knowledge and skills make me stand out!

In honor of International Women's Day, FilmAid celebrates alumna Susan Luka Mangu who tells us in her own words why she's so proud of the skills that allow her to stand out.

FilmAid alumna Susan Luka Mangu. Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya

FilmAid alumna Susan Luka Mangu. Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya

I am 18 years old and came to Kenya with my siblings in September 2014. We travelled for three days from South Sudan to Kakuma Refugee Camp. After eight months we were relocated to Dadaab.

I really appreciate the fact that I have a place to call home but I feel challenged by the system of education here in Kenya. When I left South Sudan I was a form two student [high school] but when I came here in 2015 I was told to join class seven [primary school]. I felt like the ground had opened up and swallowed me.  I could not believe what I was told.

I decided to stay at home for a while to think it over. I had started to lose hope but fortunately I heard of the YEP Centre (Youth Education Pack) where I could take courses which suited my objectives. I opted to join YEP where I learnt computer secretariat for 1 year.

In 2016 my cousin told me that FilmAid was recruiting youth for their Journalism Training Programme, and because I had a lot of interest in photography, I applied. I was called for an interview, which I successfully passed.

FilmAid’s Journalism Training Programme was an eye opener for me. My family supported and encouraged me even though the distance from Dagahaley to Ifo, where the training took place, was quite far.

I never gave up because it was the most interesting thing that had happened in my life since I left South Sudan. I was sure that with journalism skills I would get a job at a Radio or TV station or start my own business in the camp or back in South Sudan.

I learnt so much, and I felt alive because I could express my emotions through writing stories about the community, including taking professional photographs. Now I can compile stories on my own and publish a community magazine independently. I really thank FilmAid for the knowledge and skills that I believe have made me stand out as a young woman in this camp.

I would like to advise girls and women in Dadaab to take courses that will give them knowledge and skills, enabling them to earn a living from entrepreneurship and employment.

Follow FilmAid on Twitter and Facebook for more inspiring stories of the women of FilmAid. International Women's Day is March 8, 2017. Support FilmAid and help forge a more inclusive, gender equal world.  

Maria Noor Ahmed: From school dropout to dream come true

In honor of International Women's Day, FilmAid celebrates alumna Maria Noor Ahmed's accomplishments as a journalist and filmmaker. Read her own words below.

Maria at FilmAid Film Festival in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya

Maria at FilmAid Film Festival in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya

I was born in Somalia, but my mother moved to Dadaab in 1998 when I was only one year old. I’m the last born in a family of four which my mum takes care of single handedly.

In 2005 I was enrolled in Primary school but dropped out to assist my mother with the household chores. My siblings fetch water and firewood.

After dropping out of school I stayed at home for a while but later, joined Youth Education Pack (Y.E.P) which is supported by the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC. I took part in a one year course in journalism. After graduating I took a job at Risaala F.M Radio Station as a reporter.

While working at Risaala Radio Station I heard that FilmAid was advertising their Film Training Program for youth. Having had a passion for filmmaking, I went to the FilmAid field office in Hagadera to seek more information about the training. When I looked at the requirements, K.C.S.E certificate [high school graduation certificate] was one of them and unfortunately I did not have it since I’m a class seven dropout. I felt hopeless but my family told me to apply and inform FilmAid that I didn’t have a secondary school certificate but had successfully completed a one year journalism course.

‘Alhamdulillah’ [Thanks to Allah] after a week I was called for the interview and to me it was a dream come true. I was both happy and nervous at the same time. I felt like I had passed the interview already. During the interview I agreed to commit myself fully and focus on the training, so I told my boss about it and he permitted me to proceed with my plans.

From the FTP training I learnt how to direct a film, use a camera, edit films, write scripts, do casting, select film locations and also train others on the same. In all the topics, editing was fun and came naturally to me though I liked spending time with the camera.

Currently I’m working as a Senior Presenter at Risaala F.M in Dadaab, my duties are to record short films, edit, report and present news. I also empower other youth with my skills by training them on Film and Journalism at Hagadera Journalism School on a volunteer basis.

I would like to go back to school and get the secondary school certificate but the issue of repatriation is a hindrance to my plans. Despite what I go through, InshaAllah [God willing] I will achieve my goal; to see more girls socio-economically empowered and an informed community for adaptive and positive behavior that will enable them to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.

I would urge all agencies in Dadaab to reach out to more girls and women with skills-based approach to build their capacity and also urge girls to take courses and attend trainings like journalism and filmmaking even if there are challenges. In the next 3 years I would like to work for a national radio or T.V station and also start a Film/journalism school for girls.    

Written by: Maria Noor Ahmed. Hagadera Refugee Camp in Dadaab, Kenya.

Follow FilmAid on Twitter and Facebook for more inspiring stories of the women of FilmAid. International Women's Day is March 8, 2017. Support FilmAid and help forge a more inclusive, gender equal world.  

Amina Rwimo Hortence: "The knowledge I have is still not enough."

In honor of International Women's Day, FilmAid celebrates Film Training Graduate Amina Rwimo Hortence whose ambition is never limited by her circumstances. 

Amina Rwimo Hortence. Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya.

Amina Rwimo Hortence. Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya.

I am 24 years old and a Congolese refugee living in Kakuma Refugee Camp.  From the start of my career to now I have achieved many things of which I am very proud of. I currently manage my own production company called Exile Key Films with other filmmakers based in Kakuma Refugee Camp. We take on a variety of productions from local agency projects to assisting on international productions.

Our new film, directed by myself, is called 'It Has Killed My Mother' and will be released very soon (check out the trailer below). It is about Female Genital Mutilation. I wanted to complete this project to answer my own question, "Why should a girl be cut?" and to raise awareness of FGM. Too many women bleed to death during this procedure that often takes place against their will. Many children are left without their mothers after complications at birth due to FGM. This affects the rest of the child's life.

Amina on the set with her cast and crew of It Has Killed My Mother, Kakuma Refugee Camp, October 2017

Amina on the set with her cast and crew of It Has Killed My Mother, Kakuma Refugee Camp, October 2017

I graduated from FilmAid in 2015, after which I worked as a Film Training Facilitator until recently. The Skills Development (Film Training Program) helped me to achieve my goals. If it was not for the training I got from FilmAid I couldn’t have achieved what I have today. The training I received made me who I am.

The most important thing for me to achieve my career goals is for people to believe in me, that I will take every opportunity I get as a stepping stone towards being who I want to be in the future. The knowledge I have now is not enough. I want my company to continue to grow so that I can be self-reliant and give back the knowledge I have to the community. In Kakuma many women are prevented from achieving their goals because of their culture and beliefs restricting them. Those who can talk on their behalf should be telling their story through visual communication and make the changes they need to gain back control of their lives. The percentage of women speaking on behalf of themselves is too little.

I myself face many obstacles. The knowledge I have is still not enough. I need more training in how to promote the work I produce and get it seen by others. It is very difficult to market my company, living in Kakuma.

Women need more opportunities like scholarships and training so that they can gain the skills to start their own businesses. This will encourage independence and enable other young women and girls from the refugee community to look up to them.

Follow FilmAid on Twitter and Facebook for more inspiring stories of the women of FilmAid. International Women's Day is March 8, 2017. Support FilmAid and help forge a more inclusive, gender equal world.  

In her newest film, Amina boldly confronts the practice of FGM by raising awareness of the complications and consequences of the tradition. 

Peaceful Coexistence: Media Outreach and Mass Awareness in Kalobeyei

Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement, Turkana County ©FilmAid/Salum

Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement, Turkana County ©FilmAid/Salum

Kakuma Refugee Settlements have seen a rise in new arrivals seeking refuge from the continuing violence in South Sudan. The new settlement of Kalobeyei, situated 5km from Kakuma, will provide shelter for the new arrivals, integrate members of the host community in Turkana, and host refugees who are to be relocated from Dadaab Refugee Camps. The establishment of this new settlement aims to develop the resilience of displaced refugees and focus on promoting peaceful co-existence between the host and refugee communities.

Through the SPARK project, a new Livelihoods Consortium supported by DFID and other INGOs such as NRC, DRC, AAHI and HI, FilmAid is producing a docu-drama in order to target key beneficiaries through varied communication channels. These channels, including mobile cinema, radio broadcasts and IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials will support the delivery of key messages on peaceful co-existence amongst refugees and the host community in Kalobeyei.

As the need for water continues to cause concern in Turkana county with the serious, ongoing drought in East Africa, the tensions in a harsh environment such as Kalobeyei are at an all time high with people queuing their jerry cans next to the water supply in anticipation for the arrival of water and disagreements between the host and refugee communities continuing.

Jerry cans queued at water tap in Kalobeyei ©FilmAid/OCallaghan

Jerry cans queued at water tap in Kalobeyei ©FilmAid/OCallaghan

After thorough needs assessment and research processes, FilmAid was able to establish the key areas of conflict and the systems in place to prevent them. As a new settlement there are many causes of conflict such as limited resources, idleness and a lack of livelihood opportunities. Each contribute towards tensions between the host and refugee communities. Increased awareness on the role of community leadership through Peace Committees and reporting mechanisms will be key in resolving conflict and preventing future incidents, with a focus on addressing social conflict such as SGBV (Sexual, Gender Based Violence), cultural tolerance, and the need to share resources amongst all communities.  

During the research process we spoke with FilmAid’s Outreach Officer, Moses Epem about his thoughts on the importance of using communications for promoting peaceful coexistence.

Moses Epem Eyran - Kalobeyei 

Moses Epem Eyran - Kalobeyei 

Q: Tell me about yourself, your role at FilmAid and your involvement on this project.

My name is Moses Epem Eyaran. I am currently working with FilmAid Kenya as an Outreach Officer in Kakuma and Kalobeyei Refugee Settlements. As an Outreach Officer my main duties are to work closely with the relevant community members to distinguish various issues of concern through focus group discussions. These discussions identify the most effective communications approach to addressing problems with the refugee and host communities. I then mobilize and facilitate the focus groups for FilmAid’s Media Outreach Program.

For the SPARK project my role and involvement is to carry out these tasks whilst playing a key role as a member of the host community myself.

Q: Why is your role important when making productions of this kind?

My role as an Outreach Officer and also a member of the host community is important in making these kinds of productions because I personally understand the context of the film from my own experiences living in Turkana and Kakuma town.

Q: So why is this film on Peaceful Coexistence important?

The film on Peaceful Coexistence is so important to both the refugee and host community in Kalobeyei in order to highlight what the main areas of conflict are and how both the communities can work together to resolve them. Using FilmAid’s outreach methodology, this film can be used for both the host and refugee’s viewing to help both understand the mechanisms that are in place to assist them in solving conflicts. The film will be used as a tool for targeted Outreach Workshops on Peaceful Coexistence that will be geared toward bringing the long desired attitude and behavioral change between the two communities.

Q: How can media and community outreach assist with peaceful coexistence between the refugee and host communities?

The SPARK, Peaceful Coexistence production will also be supported by other FilmAid outreach activities such as Bulk SMS, Mass Awareness Campaigns, targeted workshops, and Mobile Cinema screenings. Media and outreach are two inseparable and intertwined aspects of bringing positive social change in communities where resources are limited. The power of film, and magic of storytelling when used appropriately, brings about change in people’s lives through an increase in knowledge and positive behavior and attitude change which can culminate into self efficacy.

With all of these community outreach activities being initiated by FilmAid and supported by this film and story I have no doubt that there will be an actual realization of peaceful coexistence between the refugees and the host communities.

10th Annual FilmAid Film Festival: Brave Voices

10 YEARS CELEBRATING REFUGEE VOICES

This September and October, FilmAid hosted its 10th Annual Film Festival, in partnership with UNHCR and Safaricom, to celebrate the numerous untold stories from refugees and other marginalized populations throughout the world.

Showcasing the films of young refugee filmmakers from Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps, the festival also provides an opportunity for international filmmakers to share their stories on this year's theme, "Where I Am - Stories of the relationship between identity and the environment."

The festival is an opportunity to not only showcase the skills of FilmAid's students, but to provide them with access so their voices can be heard. It is a celebration of all the talent and tenacity of FilmAid students. Film screening events were complimented by panel discussions focusing on "Media, Arts and the Refugee Narrative" with FilmAid's Creative Director and winning FilmAid Journalism Training graduate alongside guest speakers from Amnesty International, The Media Council of Kenya, and The Kenyan Star.

FilmAid's Film Festival is held annually in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kakuma Refugee Camp and in multiple locations in Nairobi, including the slums of Eastleigh and Kibera where many refugees and migrants live. The festival is supported by the US Government, UNHCR and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Along with our partners and sponsers we strive to fulfll FilmAid's mission of informing, inspiring and empowering refugees and other marginalized populations throughout the world. FilmAid has been training, supporting and empowering more refugee youth to tell their own stories through the power of film and media over the past 15 years, and more than 1000 young people have been through our training programs. Our students go on to become advocates for themselves and their own communities. They become citizen journalists, advocates for girls rights, fixers for visiting journalists, communications staff for other NGOs in the camp, and role models for their community. One FilmAid alum recently launched the first film festival in South Sudan, a country that is facing renewed conflict, and the spectre of genocide right now. Their voices are critical not only as a catalyst for social change, but as the engine that drives that process forward. Below are just some of the intrepid young people who participated in this year's film festival. We salute them all!

Meet the STorytellers

(From right to left) Maya, Journalism Award Winner; Perpetua, FilmAid Field Manager, Kakuma; Justin, Filmmaking Award Winner; Isse, Journalism Award Winner. 

(From right to left) Maya, Journalism Award Winner; Perpetua, FilmAid Field Manager, Kakuma; Justin, Filmmaking Award Winner; Isse, Journalism Award Winner. 

FilmAid  storytellers Justin, Maya and Isse just before boarding the plane from Kakuma to Nairobi. 

FilmAid  storytellers Justin, Maya and Isse just before boarding the plane from Kakuma to Nairobi. 

FilmAid student filmmaker, editor, writer, Maria Noor Ahmed, 19 at the FilmAid Film Festival in Dadaab Refugee Camp. 

FilmAid student filmmaker, editor, writer, Maria Noor Ahmed, 19 at the FilmAid Film Festival in Dadaab Refugee Camp. 

I’m a radio presenter at Risala FM and I do lots of stories in the Somali language which makes me reach a large number of people, but the filmmaking training has opened up my mind to start scripting stories that can be heard all over the world.
— Maria Noor Ahmed

Meet Our Journalists

I want to act as a voice to every woman just like my mother who doesn’t know how to defend her own rights. I will do this by becoming a journalist.
FilmAid’s Journalist Training was amazing because I gained more skills and my confidence has been boosted. This means a great deal to me because I am now able to create my own story and a few features.
— Maya Aluel Kur (South Sudanese, 20 years old, interested in photography and writing) *Winner of 2016 Best Journalist Award
Isse Abdullahi Hassan, FilmAid Journalism Award Winner, 2016

Isse Abdullahi Hassan, FilmAid Journalism Award Winner, 2016

I have always wanted to be a voice of positive influence to the youth and I knew journalism would provide me with the necessary skills to achieve my dreams. I love writing and I would like to pursue journalism as a profession.
— Isse Abdullahi Hassan (Somali, 25 years old, interested in creative writing and radio reporting)

Films from Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps

Dependency is a Dark Life - The story of Raho who dropped out of school to get married only to be divorced by her husband a few years later. This didn’t stop her from raising her child and gaining and education to help her start a successful business.

Hawo Somali - The documentary follows Hawo, a wife and mother who has lived in Dadaab for 30 years. She manages a group of women whom she trained in the making of traditional Somali mats. What started out as a hobby is now a successful business that attracts many customers.

Love Has No Boundaries - A touching drama about a young couple of different nationalities. They are both madly in love but will their family ever accept their relationship? This is a taboo issue in Kakuma, but one the students felt compelled to address with tenderness and humor in order to create change and acceptance in their own communities. 

450 Walk To Safety - The drama tells the story of Maka, a 32-year-old widow and a mother of two whose husband was killed by rebels for refusing to give up his son. When rebels return to raid her village Maka and her family become a target and are forced to flee.

Jirde The Artist - Jirde exhibits the creativity of a professional artist without having attended art school and without any training. He inherited his gift from his father, also a successful graphic designer but he learned how to be a success by himself.

Endless Conflict - This is a story about Dubow, a Kenyan man married to a Somali woman, Madheq.They are blessed with two beautiful children. Madheq wants to go back to Somali but Dubow refuses and plans to take her to live in Garrisa. Madheq takes matters into her own hands.

Multi-Talented Star - This inspiring documentary teaches us about a young and talented youth from Kakuma Refugee Camp named, Angelo Konchgor, seen through the eyes of those who know him best. Angelo is a filmmaker, a footballer, an actor and an artist. He uses his talents and ambition to educate his community members on peaceful coexistence. "Talent is something that makes every human great." 

To watch films from this year's festival CLICK HERE. 

FilmAid's Skills Development Program

FilmAid Festival Award Winner (Love Has No Boundaries) Justin Ruharuka Abel, refugee from Congo.

FilmAid Festival Award Winner (Love Has No Boundaries) Justin Ruharuka Abel, refugee from Congo.

Through film, photography, journalism, radio and digital media education, FilmAid gives individuals the creative and technical skills necessary to advocate for the needs of their communities and to express themselves with pride and creativity. FilmAid is a community-based communications organization, teaching skills and integrating local communities in the media making process. Our training program empowers young people to tell their own stories in their own voice. 

Click here to support REfugee voices by making a donation today. 

Celebrating the Olympics in Kakuma

This past August FilmAid partnered with The International Olympic Committee, The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Amnesty International and Globecast to broadcast the Olympic Games live in Kakuma Refugee Camp in honor of the first-ever refugee team.

A win from Team Refugees would change how the world views refugees.
— Lazarus Deng, South Sudanese photographer living in Kakuma

This historical event was the first time that refugees were competing in the Olympic Games. Additionally, it was the first time many residents of Kakuma had even watched the Olympic broadcasts live. The screenings provided a great opportunity for the refugee community to follow the events live from the Games in Rio, and most importantly, the races that their fellow refugees were participating in. Thousands of men, women and children gathered to watch the games each evening, sometimes in the middle of the night, bringing mats, jerry cans and other items to secure their space in front of FilmAid’s mobile cinema.

In our culture the games belong to the men. This is my first time to see her doing something like that
— Margaret Nachi (Aunt of Refugee Olympic Team member Anjelina Nadai)
Community watches The Olympic Games - Kakuma - ©FilmAid/Otieno

Community watches The Olympic Games - Kakuma - ©FilmAid/Otieno

In particular, youth were overjoyed with the opportunity to watch their friends and neighbors participating in this highly competitive, worldwide event. The younger generations in particular were inspired by the screenings: seeing their peers preform on the international stage encouraged many in Kakuma to work hard as the athletes achievements showed the community it is possible to succeed in ambitious goals, whether they be in sports, film making, or entrepreneurship. As FilmAid filmmaker Abdul Patient said after watching the broadcasts, "I believe I can achieve my dreams, because Team Refugees gives me hope. One day, one time, maybe I'll be somewhere for my talent." In total, five South Sudanese refugees from Kakuma Refugee Camp took part in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

I believe I can achieve my dreams, because Team Refugees gives me hope. One day, one time, maybe I’ll be somewhere for my talent.
— Abdul Patient, Burundian filmmaker living in Kakuma Refugee Camp

The 2016 Rio Olympic broadcasts was a historical exercise that motivated refugees to believe that talent combined with hard work can help someone achieve their dreams. The broadcasts themselves also brought the much needed psycho-social relief to the refugee community and they were extremely grateful to The Olympic Broadcast Committee, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Amnesty International, Globecast and FilmAid for making it possible. Read our full report on FilmAid's screening here.