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In Madagascar, urban children highlight their needs through video

The OneMinutesJr. Project is a youth arts initiative that teaches young people how to capture their viewpoints on video. The project, run by UNICEF and its partner, The One Minutes Foundation, has been producing one-minute videos since 2002. Click here for more information about the project.

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (June 9, 2012) — Lantoniaina sits in the training room of the Antananarivo-based French Institute of Madagascar. Born and raised at the outskirts of Madagascar’s capital city, she eagerly awaits the start of UNICEF’s OneMinutesJr. video workshop.

'Reality', the OneMinutesJr. video made by Laza Randrianarivelo Mampionona, 19, at the 2012 Madgascar workshop.

She is just one of several teenagers who have come to the Institute to learn to make short films. Though they have a wide range of talents and interests, they have one thing in common: They live in poverty and lack access to basic social services. And unlike her friends in the room, Lantoniaina has an additional obstacle—she is hearing impaired and partially mute.

Despite her disability, she is determined to use her film to show that she is like other children, dreaming of a better future. Lantoniaina has a passion for dance, but her father didn’t allow her to practice out of fear that she would fall. When she invited her father to a performance, he was surprised that she did not fall and was proud of her talents. Her film promotes the right of young people with disabilities to express themselves, supporting their right to not be excluded, even from activities that might be deemed ‘dangerous’ or beyond their abilities.

The OneMinutesJr. Project

madagascar-video-help-children

© UNICEF Madagascar/2012/Raharijaona

Participants in the OneMinutesJr. Madagascar workshop learn to use a camera.

The OneMinutesJr. Project, a partnership of the One Minutes Foundation and UNICEF, provides a platform for youth between the ages of 12 and 20 to express themselves through one-minute videos. The first OneMinutesJr. workshop in Madagascar was held in Antananarivo in March 2011, when a group of international artists trained local artists and filmmakers how to conduct OneMinutesJr. workshops. This year’s OneMinutesJr. Workshop was held from April 2-6, and was led by local filmmakers Mamihasina Raminosoa and Johnattan Maminirina Rabarijaona. Nineteen young people from various associations attended the workshop, which centered on the theme of life in a large city.

The group learned how to write a script, operate a camera and produce a short video. Although most quickly recognized it would be no easy feat, the challenge was welcome. The youth each took turns playing the role of actor, director and cameraman.

“This is an invaluable opportunity for youth who had never previously seen a film or held a camera in their hand,” said Daniel Timme, Chief of Media and External Relations for UNICEF Madagascar. “It is also an opportunity for viewers to better understand the realities of everyday life for children growing up in urban areas. Most importantly, it is a call for attention to the issues surrounding poverty and inequality in cities, and the increased need to improve the lives of the most marginalized.”

Depicting children’s hardships

“I live in the slums,” wrote Randrianarivelo Laza Mampionona, “where thieves and burglars roam even in daylight.” In his one-minute film, ‘Reality’, Laza demonstrates how children participate in and witness urban violence.

“I will not tell you my story; I invite you to see it,” he wrote.

Like Lantoniaina and Laza’s stories, the other youths’ films describe many hardships, including being unable to go to school, working because their parents no longer have the money to provide for them, or suffering from exploitation.

The videos were shown at a ‘premier’ screening on the last evening of the workshop. They were then shown at the ‘Rencontres du Film Court’ annual festival, organized by the French Institute of Madagascar and attended by 10,000 people. All the videos are available on UNICEF’s OneMinutesJr. YouTube channel.

Author: Narindra Raharijaona

Source: UNICEF

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