Last October I received a random email through a freelancer website I'm listed on. The email led off as follows:
My name is Kira. I am 16. I need help in creating a 2-3 minute video to put on a Crowdrise site. My goal is to raise $28k-45k. My brothers started a non-profit (FUNDaFIELD.org) in 2007. I have grown up working and now running the organization. Additionally, I run a site called PAPERbeadsFROMafrica.com where I sell paper bead jewelry made by women refugee women in Africa. It supports the women and is a fundraiser for FUNDaFIELD.
So, Kira here has already done more to make the world a better place at age sixteen than most manage their entire lives. At age sixteen I had accomplished literally nothing of any merit, and probably still haven't, relatively speaking. This little girls was trying to do something incredible.
She would go on to explain that she was spearheading an effort to bring 229 Ugandan refugees - 31 women, 198 children - home by the holidays. The refugees had fled lands in Northern Uganda in the early 90's during the Joseph Kony rebel wars, traveling by foot roughly 400 kilometers to an IDP camp where they've worked to make a home since. Last year, the land the camp resided on was sold to land developers, and the women and children were told they would have to uproot themselves for the second time inside 25 years and find a new home.
Makes the latte foam-related complaint you sputtered out at the Starbucks counter this morning seem a tid insignificant, no?
When Kira and FUNDaFIELD got wind of this injustice, they decided to do something about it. With Joseph Kony no longer a threat to the lands they used to live on, the refugees expressed interest in returning there. It would take around $28k to get the 229 women and children back to where they belonged, and provide the building blocks necessary to start a new life - farming tools, seeds to plant, school fees and uniforms for the children, construction of the mud and grass huts they'd need for temporary housing.
Anyone can have a good idea while they take their morning shower, but the people that accomplish great things are the ones that dry off and do something about it - or something like that, I once read. Or heard. Or something.
Kira didn't just have an idea to help these people, she devised a plan to actually do so. She wrote the copy for and assembled a Crowdrise page for the endeavor, wrote a well-crafted video script that told the story of these people and why someone should want to help, and compiled a ton of raw video and pictures that could be used to craft the video that would serve as the primary call to action for the fundraising campaign. She just needed an idiot with an editing program and little bit of storytelling experience to help her mold that into the video above, and I was happy to be said idiot. We worked together on it for a week or so, I passed it off the finished product to her, and she went to work.
A few days ago I found out she had raised over $31k (you can still donate though, and you should - https://www.crowdrise.com/homebytheholidays/fundraiser/kiraweiss1) in time to help the refugees, which is the sheer definition of awesome. As of three weeks ago the refugees were in transit and the temporary housing was being built. So that's what an amazing person armed with a little video can do - what are you doing with your video?
Josh Folan is a producer, writer, director and actor with professional credits dating back to 2005, prior to which he studied finance at The Ohio State University. Filmmaking highlights since founding NYEH Entertainment in 2008 include BODY (2015 Slamdance premier, co-producer), All God’s Creatures (2011 Hoboken Int’l premier, best screenplay and actress nominations, writer/producer), it’s just One line (2012 Film Racing NYC 24 Hour Film Race finalist, writer/director/producer), and What Would Bear Do? (writer/director/producer). Also an author and contributor to the independent filmmaking blog community, he penned the low-budget indie case study Filmmaking, the Hard Way. You can follow him (@joshfolan) and NYEH (@nyehentertains) on twitter and facebook if you’d like to keep up with his coming soons.