Young girls and their Magic Lantern
By Anjali Singh
Lucknow, UP, 13 December 2011 - School-going, Laxmi Nishad, had waited all her life to share with someone the burden she had been carrying since her mother’s death.
Laxmi got the chance to share her story with the world after she attended the One Minutes Junior workshop organized by UNICEF in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
“My father was a compulsive drinker and he refused to give us any money or even look after us after our mother died. At 13, I had to work as a housemaid and was responsible for my 11-month-old sister and the rest of the family. I wanted to tell people my story,” says Laxmi.
Laxmi, along with 14 of her fellow classmates from Prerna Girls School, part of the Study Hall Foundation Laxmi, got a chance to create a one minute video on her life which she named ‘Me and My Life’ during the five day workshop she attended.
Laxmi’s classmate, 18-year-old Preeti Verma, felt very strongly about the practice of dowry. Many families, says Preeti, find it difficult to get their daughters married because of dowry. Through her film ‘Dowry,’ Preeti got a chance to share her views that women are more valuable than the dowry they bring.
“When we were asked at the One Minutes Jr workshop to think about an idea, I instantly chose to talk of the evils of dowry. Getting involved with scripting and shooting gave me confidence to speak my mind through and to tell society that dowry is wrong. It was a wonderful feeling.”
Seventeen year-old Renu Soni, produced "Beyond Fear Is Winning" a film based on adolescents being afraid to take initiatives in society and school.
"I was always afraid of being on-stage and now as I take center stage with my film I am elated and so much more confident than before. I never thought there would be so many people listening and watching to what I want to say. I believe that I too can be an achiever," says Renu.
The high point for all the youth film makers was public screening on November 14, celebrated as children’s day at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Auditorium Ganna Sansthan in Lucknow.
The Executive Producer, Children’s Section, UNICEF New York, Karen Cirillo, who oversaw the workshop, organized with the One Minute Foundation created an opportunity for young people’s voices to be heard.
“We have taught girls to give voice to their thoughts. Each one of them had gone through an experience that they wanted to not only talk about but show the world as well, says Karen.
“They came up with their ideas, made the drawing boards, went on locations, directed and shot the whole movie by themselves, just as the children all over the world where these workshops were held have done. We have conducted over 100 such workshops in different parts of the world and twice in India,” adds Karen.
The One Minute Films, once completed will be screened in conferences and seminars that focus on young children and issues concerning them in different parts of the world. They will be also hosted on UNICEF and the YouTube websites and broadcast on TV.