The winning entries for our ViewChange Online Film Contest represented a wide range of styles and themes as they told stories of progress in meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals around the world. Ana Cetina’s Rising to the Top, the winner of the Local/Global Partnerships category, is a short film done in classic documentary style about the Sarakasi Trust’s innovative approach to youth empowerment in Nairobi. Last week, she wrote for the Huffington Post about the film, the Trust, and her deep-seated love for Kenya.
Ana Cetina moved to Nairobi, Kenya from Bogota, Colombia when she was seven, and returned to Kenya years later to film Endeleza, the extended version of her winning entry, Rising to the Top. She was motivated to document the inspirational story after leaving Kenya because she saw that many people outside of Africa only saw the continent’s dark side. In the Huffington Post, Cetina writes:
"I have always felt very fortunate that I had the opportunity to live in Kenya and see for myself how beautiful it is and how warm the people are. But after leaving the country, I noticed how little people in the west know about what Africa is really like. The media mostly shows the violence, the starving children, and the animals, and yes, this is a part of reality that everyone needs to be aware of. But very rarely do we get to see the beautiful people, the different cultures and the positive side of the continent that also deserves attention."
Rising to the Top is an inspiring short about the Sarakasi Trust, which provides performance arts training to the youth of Nairobi’s slums. The dance and acrobatic instruction they receive can subsequently be utilized as a sustainable source of income. Cetina’s Huffington Post article expresses her admiration for the program’s method of cultivating talent as well as life skills:
"What impressed me the most about the Sarakasi Trust [...] is the fact that instead of imposing western values as a means for success, Kenyans are able to use their existing culture for their own advancement. In addition to refining their dancing and acrobatic expertise, artists also get the opportunity to learn different life skills by means of workshops and performances around the world. And as they improve, they're also encouraged to use their creativity to provide input in coordinating and choreographing actual performances. In turn, through outreach programs, the more advanced performers serve as role models and relay their acrobatic and dancing skills to the youth living in the slums of Nairobi. The Sarakasi Trust provides Kenyans with the means to empower the younger generation with the hope of a better life."
Watch Rising to the Top: