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Farida and Shahira hosting a Youth Media Festival in Kabul, for viewers around the world via Google Hangouts. 

GLOBAL YOUTH MEDIA FESITVAL

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    “Taking action towards improving human rights, and specifically the right to education, should be every person’s priority and duty.”  From a slide presentation by Frozan.



Story by Farida.  Native language, Dari.

I and my SOLA sister, Shahira, were the emcees [show hosts] of a Global Youth Media Festival in Kabul, Afghanistan. School groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S. did projects to show how the media affects how we think. [*SOLA: School of Leadership, Afghanistan.]   

     When we arrived at the school, we learned that their Internet wasn’t working.  The husband of one of our staff workers at SOLA gave us his phone and so that is how we were able to connect to the Internet. This was the first time Shahira and I were emcees or did translating and so we had to learn what to do as we were doing it. During the presentations, things were not in the order they said they would be in and so we could not follow our notes. The hardest part was listening to so many people at once. Allison [the project coordinator] was talking to us on Skype as the girls on stage were presenting their projects. There was also a person next to us telling us what to do. We had to listen to all these people at once and translate at the same time.  Several times we lost the sound on Skype and could not hear what Allison was asking us. It was also hard because there were three men behind the cameras staring at us the whole time!  At the end of the program, the phone battery ran out and so we lost connection completely.  

     But you know, this was really a good experience! I learned just to do my best.  Shahira and I worked together and helped each other. This was the most important thing to me.  I learned that even if you are in the hardest situation, you can’t give up. Now I have more experience and I have more courage. I can do better the next time. I learned to talk without notes. I learned to translate. I learned not to think about the cameras. I am glad it was hard because I learned a lot that way.  I would say that if you have something difficult to do, just try hard. Believe that God is helping you in every situation.  Just go on and be confident! 

SCREEN SHOTS TAKEN DURING THE FESTIVAL

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From one of the festival participants

Story by Frozan.  Native language, Dari.

WHAT I liked about the festival was that really good work was done and good groups won the competition.  The festival was about the role of the media in society.  In some countries the government makes the rules for the media. But this festival taught me that the media should help and work for the people. The media should be the eyes of the people so they can see clearly what the government is doing.  In our country we say that the two most responsible jobs are the work of teachers and authors because their work affects society so much.

     The responsibilities of journalists are very big!  They must be totally honest because their work really affects our lives.  If journalists lie, it is a betrayal of the people. [betray: to give help or information to an enemy.]  

     I think it is helpful to have such festivals but it is also very hard in our country. Not many people have a way to participate. They do not have computers or Internet.  It is especially hard for girls to participate. Some people who we tried to interview said, “Don’t you have any work in your homes?  Why aren’t you at home working like good girls?”   

    When this happens I understand that we who have education must be responsible for our actions.  If we do something bad, then people will say that school is bad for girls.  But if we keep doing good things, then maybe they will change. 

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com