Adobe Youth Voices – Youth Producing Change

January 25, 2010

Want to buy a child? Seriously. It will only cost you a bag of millet. Leila was sold…traded really. For a bag of food that would feed her family.
If you’re not interested in purchasing a child, what about children who work as many hours a day as they are old just to support their family.
Alcides parents—both parents—died of HIV/AIDS.
Are these tales put on the airwaves and television to tug at your heartstrings and empty your wallet? No. These are true stories put out by youth filmmakers to raise awareness.
As part of Adobe Youth Voices and the Youth Producing Change Event in Boston, ten young filmmakers were armed with digital cameras and their own creativity. They made films to expose human rights issues they faced or had seen in their community.
With issues ranging from child labor to police harassment, these films aired at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts this past weekend as the showcase series featured in Human Rights Watch Film Festivals in London, New York and San Francisco.
Made possible by The Adobe Foundation, Youth Producing Change is part of Adobe Youth Voices and is “designed to provide youth in underserved communities with critical skills they need to become active and engaged members of their communities and the world at large.”
In just over three years, 20,000 children in 30 countries have taken part in the Adobe Youth Voices training programs to create media for social change.
What’s that mean? It means you learn a little bit about Human Rights Watch. You learn about The Adobe Foundation. And you learn firsthand what kids already know.
In films that explored these topics…
Clean water is a basic human necessity, yet corporations seeking profit are purchasing community water supplies around the world.
Shocked by the claim that more than half of all rapes happen to people under 18, young filmmakers searched for the roots of sexual violence and call for change.
Each night 1,600 teenagers in New York City find themselves homeless. Clemins and Jackie, two formerly homeless teens from New York City shared their stories of overcoming adversity and their work to create a community of support around teen homelessness.
Using new media tools, kids shared these videos and then the event was publicized via Twitter and Facebook. From what I read and learned about these kids, the only thing more powerful than their videos is their resolve to address human rights issues.
Michelle Mann, Executive Director of the Adobe Foundation, said, “By calling attention to human rights issues, these youth are inspiring audiences worldwide and demonstrating the power to express ideas, engage stakeholders and effect change through digital media.”
Anyone can do this stuff, but these kids are inspiring because they got out and explored the world around them, then they got in front of the camera to share their thoughts, their pain, their stories.
Pictures…especially moving pictures…are more moving when they engage and tell a story that matters. The films that aired this past Friday at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston did just that.
You can find out more a couple of ways. Give a click over to Facebook… or jump on Twitter and follow @adobeyv to see what else is happening with Adobe Youth Voices.
You can see images and learn more about Human Rights Watch at