Some time ago, I attended a Rotary Club of Jinja meeting and saw a presentation that was done by a few students and a teacher from PMM Girl’s School in Jinja. There is a project which members of the school were participating in called Adobe Youth Voices. It is sponsored by the Adobe software company in California. The program basically provides software resources and training to student groups across participating schools in Uganda and internationally. By giving them the training and resources, the goal is to empower youth to get interested in topics and issues that interest or affect them and make videos about them. At the Rotary Club of Jinja meeting, the girls had produced and presented two videos. One was on Child Abuse and the other was on Living Positively with HIV. The Child Abuse one highlighted several articles that were within just a 6-week period of the New Vision newspaper. The second video showed clips from an interview with a woman who is a member of the Uganda Young Positives. She is about 27 yrs old now but, when she was 15, she was raped by a man who was HIV-positive and infected her. She spoke about being shunned by her family and her struggles before coming to accept her situation. She spoke about the importance of first “love yourself” before others can love you.
I was very impressed with the quality of the films relative to the age of the children who produced and designed them. I introduced myself to Mr. Richard Chole, the instructor in charge of the group and exchanged contact information. I followed this up with a meeting at PMM Girl’s School. There I discussed the idea of collaborating with the St. Francis Youth Groups. To sweeten the deal, Laura had offered to donate an HD video camera to the school. This was especially appreciated since the school has rented their video camera to date. A week or so later, Mr. Chole and one of his students came to St. Francis to give a presentation to select members of the Youth Groups about Adobe Youth Voices. The two previous videos were shown and the student gave a powerpoint presentation on her experiences with Adobe Youth Voices. I think the impact was clear to the group and hopefully indicated the beginning to a long partnership. After the meeting ended, Richard and I planned a trip to visit a St. Francis orphan who lives in Mabira Forest. You see, the other nice coincidence was that Richard was planning to do a video on an orphan even before meeting St. Francis. So, after some discussions with a few of the counselors, a prospective list was developed and sent to Richard. He reviewed and chose the orphan who lives in Mabira Forest. Her situation is pretty bad. About 4 years ago, the staff at St. Francis was sent to look into the case of a sick girl. It was discovered that she was very close to death. In fact, the villagers had already dug her grave. The staff made an effort to try and took her to Mengo Hospital and saved her life. However, she truly is alone. Her parents are deceased and she lives in a house where she is alone much of the time with a grandfather who really often neglects her. She has no brothers or sisters. She is 16 yrs old but yet is in Primary Level 6 (Ugandan schools are divided into Primary and Secondary schools – similar to Elementary and High School levels in America with the exception that there is no Junior Highschool – and there are seven levels in each school). So technically, she should be in Senior 4 or 5 level. I hope it will be a good project and may lead to helping the young girl as well.
The gallery are some shots taken at St. Francis when Mr. Chole and his student presented to the selected members of the Youth Groups. A link to the HIV video is below.