What is the impact of Education?
Do you believe that children deserve to have a childhood? Do you believe that every child deserves clean water, enough food, an education, and freedom from teen marriage? So do we.
Buzz & Amo meet:
In January, 2017, I met Christine Busby, founder of Give 35mm a registered non-profit organization. Christine "Buzz" and I hit it off immediately. Our common goals and ideas, as well as her amazing work in Africa inspired a conversation about creating a documentary about her extraordinary Kenya project in May, 2017. Her nickname is Buzz, mine is Amo - seems like a perfect pair!
During our time in Kenya we will be finishing a project Christine started over 2 years ago - through teaching the children in the village photography, she has raised enough money to pay for, and dig a well to bring water to this community. The women and children currently walk several miles each way to fetch water for their families every day.
Additionally, we will assist ten 12-15 year old girls into a boarding school and create funding opportunities to keep them in school. This is the only way to protect young girls from teen marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) which is currently illegal in Kenya. "Before Maasai girls in Kenya and Tanzania are married, they must undergo circumcision in a ceremony that 99% of the time is sponsored by their prospective suitors. " (Source)
Read more about Christine's work in Kenya HERE .
My history with Africa:
The first time I went to Africa was in 2006 while shooting a documentary about Heifer International and Oregon artist, Betty LaDuke for the Salem Art Association. Our producer Sara Swanberg, our production coordinatore Kathy D. Rice, and myself spent time in beautiful Rwanda, then in the Masai villages of Tanzania. I fell in love with both countries and all of the remarkable people we met. Our finished film "Art Reflecting Life" won the Oregon Heritage Award. You can see a brief clip HERE .
My company Hot Tea Media currently produces videos of all kinds for companies and projects around the world. You can see more of our recent projects in Peru, Utah, Alaska, and more HERE .
The final documentary will be used in fundraising efforts for the project, as an educational tool, and submitted to film festivals to share the message.
Donations will help pay for:
•Travel expenses (taxis, buses, in-country flights)
Non-monetary donations needed:
•Flight miles transferred (United Airlines or Delta)
•Donate used camera gear for the children (lenses, camera body, SD cards, cases, etc.)
•Donate VISA/Mastercard gift cards
•Donate Int'l phone cards
•Share this with your friends, family, colleagues - THIS is actually one of the most helpful things you can do for our project.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. We are aware that there are many things going on in the world today, and a million ways to spend your time/money. We are grateful for any help we can get to move this project forward.
Amoris Walker, Owner
Hot Tea Media
It has been a great week back in the USA re-adjusting to "real" life. After such an emotionally and physically challenging trip, with many difficulties and triumphs, both Christine "Buzz" and I have our work cut out for us! She is currently taking a short break in Europe and will head back to Kenya in July to oversee the finishing touches on the well. She will also be checking in on the ten girls who were a part of our project. I admire her determination to see this through and follow up with the village to make sure all of our efforts are successful. Christine is a perfect example of how a woman with an education, skills, and the desire to create positive change will help make this world a better place.
A quote sent to me from a friend prior to embarking on this journey sums up why Buzz and I feel this project is so essential.:
"Educating girls is the most effective means of combating the most profound, global threat[s] to human development: poverty, maternal and child mortality, disease, gender inequality, and economic and social instability in the world's poorest countries." -Unicef 2013
If we want to see impoverished nations succeed, we must put girls’ education on the forefront of our efforts. This is not to discount the importance of educating ALL children. But as the African proverb says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.” (Source: http://www.voicesofyouth.org/en/posts/why-we-should-support-girls--4)
Furthermore, educating girls decreases maternal mortality and child marriage. "Statistically, educated women have fewer and healthier babies, and they take better care of the ones they have." (Source: "My Hope for Peace" by Jehan Sedat)
Our work in the Maasai village near Olitokitok, Kenya, further confirmed the relevance of Give35mm's mission: by empowering communities and allowing them to tell their own stories through photography - they may help to preserve their culture while improving their quality of life.
The purpose of our film is to help tell these stories and share the significance of helping people where they live. Roy Beck of Numbers USA states, "If people lead productive lives and make their own decisions in free nations, that is far more conducive in the long-run to international stability than all the charity in the world." It is not a far reach from the old proverb that if you teach a man (or woman!) to fish, you will put the tools in their hands for their own success.
Additionally, we hope our final creation will remind people of the incredible difference a bright young woman can make if they have the desire to learn and share their gifts with the world. These ten girls will not have it easy as they go through school, but they are hungry for knowledge and capable of overcoming unbelievable odds, when given the chance.
We continue with our fundraising goals for the film, as well as GiveThirtyFivemm.org. Thank you to all who have already generously supported these efforts– we hope to make you proud!
"Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first." -Malala Yousafzi
Thank you again for all the support!
-Amo & Buzz
We are all packed and getting excited for our journey to Kenya in just a few short days! Special thanks to Driftwood for this beautiful piece about our film production and projects on the ground: www.discoverdriftwood.com/kenya-a-trip-to-the-maasai
We hope to be able to keep everyone updated while we are there, but internet will be limited as we hope to spend the majority of our time in the village in which we are working.
Thank you all again for your generous help in making this documentary happen.