Media making lets people participate in a dialogue that they might not otherwise have been able to join. When Prerna and Nishu, a couple of AYV youth from Noida Public Senior Secondary School in India, made a film about the problem of child labor, they injected themselves into the public debate as witnesses and activists.
“Make a project by going deeply into the topic… and have sufficient knowledge about the problem. With this you will be able to explain it to others,” recommends Prerna.
What’s more, their efforts were recognized by experts on the issue, who invited them to screen their video documentary, “Mujhe Haq Hain,” at a Child Labor Workshop with professionals in the field. Having been “selected to screen this video, our preparation should be up to the mark,” Nishu said; “we are very serious about this.” As for Prerna, she “was very excited and willing to express my views in front of everyone. I wanted to share my experience with everyone who would be there at the venue.”
For this forum at the conference, they prepared a speech, with assistance from their team members and teachers. Prerna recalls, “Nishu and I did more corrections when we reached the workshop. My teacher and Nishu gave me confidence to speak when I got nervous.” It was a new experience, mingling and sharing the stage with experts in children’s issues and practitioners working in a variety of social programs. Having government child welfare officers in attendance posed “a wonderful opportunity to tell directly to them what we want through this video,” and, Nishu emphasized, “the most important is that along with officers, children are also present.”
To listen and contribute to the discussions, to view and respond to the film screened by another team, gave these young media artists the chance to truly participate in this vital dialogue on children’s education and labor practices. “I felt very happy to be a part of this workshop,” Prerna proclaimed. She advised that youth who want to have a say about a topic should conduct surveys and interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the issues. “Try to show more and more about the topic,” she urged. Youth should think about “how they can help in covering the topic,” and “try to solve” the problem.
Embarking on a media project that you want to have social impact can be exhilarating, and daunting at the same time. Having reached a critical audience and achieved so much with their project, Nishu advocates that other young people “focus on their work and do it with total dedication – through their work they help in solving the social evils.”
The world needs youth voices to speak up.