Hello everyone! We are Oak Tree Films, a student-run production company on behalf of Villanova University's Social Justice Documentary Program. Inspired by the resilience of the Oak Tree, we aim to embody what the Oak Tree represents: a force of nature that is deeply rooted. As a team, we are grounded in our values of empowerment and advocacy for all. Our values for empowerment and advocacy are exemplified through our two documentary films, Her Time is Now and NINA.
As part of our purpose as Oak Tree Films, we intend on empowering Siaya and surrounding communities by providing sustainable solutions to alleviate some of the issues they face. We will be operating social initiatives for our collaborators in Her Time is Now, NINA, and at Siaya Muungano Network that focus on SDGs 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), and 6 (clean water and sanitation).
INITIATIVE #1: Her Time is Now, Gender Justice & Empowerment
During a recent visit to Siaya County in Kenya, the Oak Tree Films team interacted with many girls and women who shared their stories of empowerment while navigating a dominant patriarchal system. We learned that gender-based discrimination reveals itself in various forms, from acts of violence against women to period poverty, limiting the advancement of women and girls. We also learned that the women of Siaya employ peer-peer networks, community collaboration and solidarity to confront these gender-based challenges. We met two dynamic community leaders who champion gender rights in Siaya—Duren Oyuga and Trezzer Omoro—who empower girls and women in transformative ways: Duren makes reusable pads, while Trezzer mentors survivors of gender-based violence.
As Oak Tree Films, we value sustainable relationships and therefore wish to support Duren and Trezzer with the establishment of a self-sustaining chicken coop farming business that will contribute towards women’s empowerment in their communities.
Our visit to Siaya couldn’t have been possible without the support of Siaya Muungano Network (SIMUN), a local community based organization that works at the grassroots for gender and youth empowerment. We would wish to continue this partnership with SIMUN through a proposed girl-child empowerment program in Siaya.
We also want to raise funds to provide women and girls in the Siaya community with 2,000 dignity kits to mitigate against period poverty, an enduring inequality that affects their education and dignity.
Cost Estimate: $20,000
INITIATIVE #2: NINA, Clean Water & Infrastructural Issues
Oak Tree Films is honored to be telling the stories of Nina School for the Deaf, a boarding school for about 100 students with deaf, visual, and/or other disabilities. The Nina School is supervised by eight faculty and staff members who assist with caring for the children and maintaining the grounds. The support for the students is limited as it is difficult for eight people alone to oversee the health and other needs of nearly 100 students and simultaneously be completely present when educating the students.
The administration of the Nina School looked toward the government for further assistance; however, the neglect of the disabled community of Siaya was evident in the living conditions of the Nina community. The students are losing access to clean water from road reserve disruptions and are exposed to jigger infestations from infrastructure issues. We aim to provide sustainable solutions for the Nina School by constructing a water well that can last for decades and repairing the flooring in the dormitories. This initiative seeks to improve security in Nina School's access to clean water and the students' and faculty's physical health needs.
Cost Estimate: $55,000
Please consider donating to aid in our efforts of empowering the Siaya and surrounding communities. If you would like to donate to a specific initiative, please denote the Initiative by number or name in your donation.
Any donations are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for the support for the Siaya community and Oak Tree Films!
For more information on our initiatives, visit here.