Hunger Crisis

Donate Now

Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Welcome Back!

You have Gifts for Good in your basket.

Welcome Back!

Last time you were here, you were looking to help vulnerable children and families. Your support can save and change lives.

First published: ABC OPEN

Warruwi kids were very excited about the Our Day film project with ChildFund Connect, where we got to work with cameras to film bits of our daily lives. But what was really special was what we learned about the other kids and the connections we made.

Our students from Warruwi School, here on South Goulburn Island, are among 300 children from across the Asia-Pacific who have taken part in Our Day, a film project that documents a day in the life of children in different parts of the world.

Using pocket video cameras, our kids joined in with kids in Laos, Timor Leste and Vietnam to film moments in our day-to-day lives over a period of weeks.The footage we all took was then edited by Clinton J Isle into a short film that is a captivating journey through childhood in different countries.

The main idea of the project was to link children in Australia with children in developing countries and enable them to connect and learn with each other using video and other technologies to communicate.

So how excited were we to screen our film here on Warruwi!

With a BBQ beforehand, we had the screening in the office of the school where we set up our speakers and screen. Setting up for 60 people, we ran out of room and little kids were sitting on the floor. Parents, family,and friends of students who were involved were there. Before the film we screened outtakes not in the film and a project the boys in the class worked on earlier in the year on how to play a didgeridoo – which the little kids all across the school love when it is shown.

All through the film, people were laughing and little kids were asking questions about people from other places – some of the older ladies were trying to explain to the kids about how people in other countries don’t have water that comes from a tap, that they have to get it from outside. Some of my older students commented afterwards that they thought it was hard on the kids having to wash their clothes by hand. It was a really good learning experience for my students, listening to other people and the way they live.

Some of the really positive things the students said afterwards was how much they liked to listen to the other students make music, dance and speak in their own language. A big favourite was the footage of a girl doing gymnastics on a trampoline surface in Sydney. A lot of conversation has come out of this film!

At the end, families clapped and cheered – the younger students asking to see it again and the adults asking when it would be out on YouTube. Some of the adults, including teachers, were quite moved by the simplicity of the piece and how well our kids did and a couple of tears were wiped away at the end.

Afterwards, the students from Warruwi made a Skype call with the students from a Sydney school and through much laughter, face-pulling and shouted questions, the students managed to talk about what they liked, what they wanted to see more of, what it was like to live where they did – as well as several students from the Sydney school telling one of my students that he was “awesome” resulting in much laughter.

We hope that, through ChildFund Australia, for next year that we can continue a dialogue with the Sydney school and the school in East Timor. We are hoping to continue with the film-making with the cameras that have been given to the school by ChildFund and the hope is that some of these films can be used to help the students from these places to understand each other further.

A big positive of this film is the feel-good nature of the activities you see the kids involved in – laughing, having fun, getting out and enjoying themselves.

In a village called Sana-Nain, at the end of a remote dirt road in Manatuto district, ChildFund Timor-Leste recently spent five days listening to children and young people talk about their lives and experiences of poverty.

Sana-Nain is nestled high in the mountains, accessible only by a wide riverbed that becomes impassable after heavy rain. When anyone from the community has produce to sell or errands to run, they must walk kilometres down to the dry river bed, across and up to the nearest road. Sana-Nain’s remoteness means that basic services – like electricity and running water – are just now becoming available to the community.

ChildFund Timor-Leste and its community partner organisation Moris Foun (Tetun for “new life”) recently conducted a series of group exercises with children, youth and parents of infants in Sana-Nain. The exercises are designed to create a comfortable environment where children feel free to share what makes them sad, angry, scared and worried. Participants are split into groups by age and gender so they feel comfortable sharing their personal experiences.

By Friday morning, the tangible results of the activities were obvious – Sana-Nain’s open air village hall was draped with risk maps of the community and colourful sheets of paper. But the investment of the community in the process was also evident – at 9am, after four days of community consultations, the children and their families were already waiting to start.

As the responses to each exercise were collated and sorted, common issues started to emerge, for example, the need for vaccinations, improved school facilities and opportunities for employment. The children also identified domestic violence and education quality as aspects of their community that particularly concerned them. After sharing a meal together, the facilitators and community bid farewell – but only temporarily. ChildFund Timor-Leste will now use the community’s responses to plan its project approach in Sana-Nain.

The community consultation is part of ChildFund’s program approach. This ensures that ChildFund and community members truly listen and respond to children’s ideas and opinions on their experiences of poverty, the problems they face, the ways they cope and their images of the future. It also builds the capacity of children and youth to lead development in their communities. Following the completion of a series of community consultations in Manatuto, the results will be used to create an Area Strategic Plan for Manatuto, which will guide ChildFund’s work in the district through to June 2015.

The following vision statement was written by the children, youth and parents during the week: “Our village Sana-Nain wants a future with a primary and junior high school with complete facilities, a health centre, good roads, sufficient food, complete sanitation, electricity and good relations with all institutions who can support our children at school. From this, our village Sana-Nain can live in peace.”

Over the coming months and years, ChildFund Timor-Leste, Moris Foun and the community of Sana-Nain will work together to make the children’s vision a reality.