Consider the story of Hot Sun Foundation, a nonprofit film school located in Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums, located in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nathan Collett, founder of Hot Sun Foundation, traveled from his home in southern California to Kibera back in 2006 to make a short student film called Kibera Kid when he was still a film student at USC. Kibera Kid tells the story of a boy who is considering a tough decision that could put him on–or pull him off–the pathway to a life of crime, and many of the locals collaborated with Nathan during the filming.
According to Collett, the people that he worked with from Kibera said, ‘Thank you for making your film, but when are we going to get a chance to make our own film?’” Collett quickly came to an epiphany. “Just because you come from Kibera, just because you come from a difficult circumstance, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have the opportunity to tell your own stories.”So in 2009 Nathan created the Hot Sun Foundation and Kibera Film School.
Kibera Film School trains youth in filmmaking as writers, actors, directors, location scouts, designers, camera people, sound technicians, editors, and promoters. This work is transforming lives of people living in slums. It's helping people to gain skills to do work in the local film and television industries.
As you reflect on your organization's work, consider how you and your team might look differently at the problems you face. Start that process by taking on the posture of a learner rather than an expert. If you don't like my analogy here, try the posture of a tourist. Look at your problems with fresh eyes as if everything is new, unfamiliar, and rife with exciting opportunities to experience.
I also encourage you to think deeply about how you share the stories you are sharing with your audiences, both internally and externally. Think about what might happen if you were to give the people that you serve an opportunity to tell their stories rather than you doing so on their behalf. Think about what this change could mean for your organization's social impact?
What are your thoughts?
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