OneMinutesJr. Jordan Workshop: Day One
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The first day of the OneMinutesJr. workshop in Amman began with the youth participants introducing themselves to each other. The seventeen youth come from Amman, Baqa’ah and Zarqa. Some youth already know each other, being part of UCAN (UNICEF Change Agent Network), a network for adolescents advocating for their rights. But this way the whole team gets to learn a bit of the kids’ as well as their interests and hobbies.
After a brief introduction of the OneMinutesJr., we asked everyone what their expectations were. Many of the youth said they were excited to learn how to express their views through video. The UCAN youth were especially interested in gaining skills to use in their advocacy work. 19-year old Jevara pointed out that in Jordan everyone watches videos: “video (use) is for all classes.” But everyone felt that it was doable to make a complete movie in one minute.
We showed a series of videos made by other young people around the world so the youth participants wouldn't feel intimidated. Video artists, Taatske Pieterson and Olivia Glebbeek, spent some time teaching camera shots and angles so the kids would have the visual tools to tell their stories.
After lunch, the talk turned towards the theme of the workshop: “Our Voice.” The youth participants were asked to think about what they might want to tell the world about their lives: “What do you think is your place in the world? What is important in your life right now? How can you be involved in shaping your community? What do you see as injustices and how does that affect you?”
One by one, the participants met with the video artists to talk about their movie ideas. They discussed what was important to them and what their inspirations were. The facilitators often asked them to share their ideas in one sentence and to get at the essence of what was significant.
The idea discussions took quite some time, but there were a lot of strong thoughts, especially on the ideas of stereotypes and identity. For over 40 years, the country of Jordan has opened its borders to people seeking refuge from crisis in the surrounding regions. The population has almost doubled in the last 10 years. While Jordanians are welcoming, the increase in people can bring tension and misunderstanding.
Some of the participants represent populations affected by war, such as Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan and Palestine. Their story ideas reflect their struggles, adapting to new communities and finding confidence to “remain themselves.”
Yanal, 18-years-old, talked about the multiple walls that exist for refugees and those from other cultures. He felt that the Middle East was a region where countries were often separated by actual walls. But along with physical borders, many immigrants to Jordan face invisible walls as well, which sometimes keep people from working, going to school or living where they want. He will make a film that reflects these issues.
After a full day of talking, many powerful stories have been shared. There is much more to talk about though, in terms of how to share those stories visually, so filming will not start quite yet. We look forward to seeing what developments youth think about on the 2nd day.