Video and Girl Empowerment

As a Communications professional, I have always been amazed by the power of the visual medium. Working in the social development sector for over six years now, I have come to realise that photographs and videos, primarily, attract attention like nothing else. Images, particularly a video makes for a compelling watch and resonates with people at a more humane level. Also, in India, diversity of languages and low literacy rates, means like videos and photos will have a greater attention and retention power with people who have low education/ are uneducated.

My independent project at Salaam Bombay Foundation (SBF) as an AIF Clinton Fellow was to make a video on empowerment of girls (who are the beneficiaries of SBF’s initiatives). Although my interest lay in facilitating the video making process by a community, this video was something I wanted to work on by myself. I have always loved interacting with people, making them feel at ease before I come with a camera to document a part of their life. This video on ‘Girl Empowerment at the Salaam Bombay Foundation’, basically was to document the story of seven such girls who have fought odds and proven their worth to the society. Often in an average Indian society, girls are undervalued and this video was an attempt to prove that if given the right opportunities and mentoring, they can not only realize their dreams but also make their society proud. My last blog about one of these girls will give you an idea of how strong their personalities are.

The production of this video started with meeting few of the potential success stories. Since, this time I had the freedom to work on the video my way, I took the time to meet the girls much before I wrote the story flow. This proved helpful in ways which only made this production a great success. Out of the 10 girls I met, we selected 5 who not only had an amazing back story but also made this whole experience so much fun with their energy. The 3-day shoot ended too soon and I had the task to convert close to 50 GB of data into a 3 minute impactful video. That might sound like nothing but trust me when I say, it is lot of work! Especially, when you have so much to weave in less than 3 minutes!

One of my major learning from this video was the fact that it is only a matter of time that talent is discovered and once that happens, there is no looking back. I have thoroughly enjoyed making this video and I hope you will experience the resilience and hope, which these girls so beautifully emulate.

The video is below:

Sumedha feels that her experience as an AIF fellow will help her to understand first-hand how strategizing and creating development projects can bring about more clarity in her interest areas. Although she grew up in India, she feels that the diversity of the country is such that it never ceases to surprise people. She enjoys interacting with new people, travelling and photography. Her conscious choice of getting into the development sector of India has supported her to work for the causes she cares about the most. At Salaam Bombay Foundation, she feels dealing with kids will be both, interesting as well as challenging. Sumedha is looking at making significant contribution to the larger society in which she grew up. Prior to AIF, she has trained adolescent girls from an underprivileged community on video making and has experience in inter-personal as well as organizational communications.

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