Jennifer and I are back in Toronto with many fond memories of our time in Jamaica. Here's a summary of the project from Jen's perspective.
The ten participants, ages 15- 45, each created their own digital story, but they had a much bigger job as community leaders- they also learned how to teach the program! Each person shared what their greatest strengths. No one had to be a ‘media expert’. They put those strengths together to make a fantastic team, ready to lead a new group in creating their own digital stories.
The final week was so exciting to watch these new leaders teach as a team. Each leader took on important roles in teaching the program and supporting the new participants to make their stories. New participants include Paka, who used his own music that he recorded as his soundtrack. His story was about the importance of music is in his life, and how the Container helped him to create his own CD. Lisa was one of the original members of The Container, and her story took us back to the beginning- what it was like to create The Container, paint it , cut out windows, put together the computers, and open it to the community. Melissa honored her father by telling her story in memory of him. The final night we had a big event where we screened the videos, staged performances, danced, ate and celebrated the successful finish of the project.
Being a part of The Container Project and the community in Palmers Cross was such an honour. The community was so welcoming to us, and we learned as much from them as they did from us. Palmers Cross has many similar challenges as our community here in Toronto- there’s lots of violence, it is hard to find any work, education is too expensive… Mervin remembers growing up here and always being told, ‘nothing good comes out of Palmers Cross’. But everyone was quick to tell us, it’s not all bad, you need to be here, you need to know us. As Bockle ended his story, ‘It’s not what people think about you, it’s what you think about yourself’.
This month Camille and I are leading a digital storytelling workshop with immigrant women at CNH. Our own group of peer leaders were trained in December to deliver the digital storytelling program and it was their experiences that guided our work in Jamaica. They will now be using media to take on leadership roles in our community, and to support other women in creating and sharing their stories. Camille and I can now bring back our stories from Jamaica, and create a ‘full circle’ international experience of learning.
The digital stories will soon be online on the cnh and container project websites. Look out for them! We will also have a screening of all the videos soon. In the meantime, take a look at some of the previous projects we've done at Central Neighbourhood House:
camille on 04.23.06 @ 11:15 AM CST [link]