You think you understand poverty, struggle, oppression, thirst, hunger, sorrow, joy, passion. Then you visit one of the poorer villages of Ethiopia; these words represent the rule, not the exception. My visits to Ethiopia, once in 2010 and again in 2011, were an awakening for me. I have been to developing nations before and witnessed poverty-stricken places first-hand, but somehow Ethiopia seems different. The needs of the people there are so great, yet their resilience seems undying and unstoppable.
So what can I do to help, to make a difference? What can one person do? And then I meet the people working there to make a difference, people like Summer Yates, Dave McIlrath, Jerry Shannon, Kari Gibson, Ephrem Hagos, Sammy Liben, the list goes on. What can one person do? It turns out, a whole lot!
As a filmmaker, I have the opportunity to capture life in moving pictures and sound. In our world, multimedia such as movies, online videos, television, reaches people in a profound way. It is no surprise that more than ninety percent of most large corporations’ marketing budgets are spent on television advertising – it reaches people, it gets attention, it works. But creating quality multimedia is expensive and too often, only the organizations that have money can afford to create the media that in turn generates more money for the organization.
So what can one person do? Well, I know what I can do – I can create media that organizations like Visiting Orphans, Project 61, Mission Ethiopia, Ethiopian Youth Soccer could otherwise not afford to create at no cost to them. They can in turn use that media to generate the awareness and ultimately the funds they need to continue their work in Ethiopia.
So if creating media is too expensive for most of these organizations to afford, how can a small-time indie filmmaker such as myself afford to create it? That is what I kept asking myself over and over as I witnessed this need firsthand and looked down at the camera I held in my hands. I have the energy, I have the tools, all I need is a few dollars to get it done. My good friend Dave McIlrath from Ethiopia Guest Homes offered me a solution – if he funded a trip to get me over to Ethiopia, perhaps I could get the footage I need for the projects and I could figure out the funding for the project completion later.
Which brings us to present day. The footage has been shot and is ready for the three months it will take to turn that footage into finished films. I am ready and excited to finish the work, but one thing remains – the funding part. I need to raise a minimum of $15,000 to get these films completed and every dollar will help. I am using a service called Kickstarter to accomplish this fundraising and it allows people to donate any amount of money to the project using a credit card. The challenge to using this service is that not one penny of the funds will be awarded unless the full amount of $15,000 is reached, so it is essential that I reach this goal. Please check out my Kickstarter page (http://kck.st/iZrKeY), pledge what you can, help me get these films out there for people to see.
What can one person do? They can do a lot, but only with the support of many caring individuals such as yourself. Our individual actions are catalysts for the actions of many. It starts with the power of one and ends with the power of everyone working together to make our world a better place for everyone in it.
The Ethiopia Projects: http://kck.st/iZrKeY