I had the pleasure of being part of the start of a wonderful project created by Fresh RB a visual production social enterprise company that focuses on creating short films around marginalised health themes. The team have established the project now in two schools in north Manchester.
The Silent Elephant project
The project is based around health conditions that need more awareness within the community. They take a different condition each year and work with a small group of year 10 students in the school. They have to research the condition, create a script, source actors and then film the short film. The students have to interview for the positions which straight away gives them life experience. Once the project is complete they have a film screening where the children get to talk about the film and their experiences. They get accredited within the Gatsby benchmark which goes towards their GCSE’s. This is a great way to create knowledge within the community and more importantly in the next generation.
For this years silent elephant project they have chosen the condition of visual impairment. They asked Henshaws if they could send someone to go and talk to the group about their journey towards sight loss. They do this with every health condition chosen, getting firsthand information to help make the projects as authentic and informative as possible.
I’m not going to lie to you, I am at the start of this public speaking journey and when I was asked if I wanted to talk in front of a year 10 group I was a little scared! Year 10 are 15 year olds and I remember what my step son was like at that age and the rest of the 15 year olds. So yes a little nervous but I thought I was 15 once upon a time, yes – I know it was a while ago! I thought it can’t be that hard! It wasn’t they were all so lovely, polite and respectful. My auntie came with me to support and guide me and she said that when I was talking they were all engaged with what I was saying, so that was such a relief. I told them a little of my story of sight loss focusing a little more on my high school experience as they can relate to this. Let me tell you it wasn’t an easy experience but that’s a whole different story. After my talk I brought some gadgets and blindfolds along for them to have a go. This part of the workshop they loved@! Everyone loves having a go at pouring the water into a cup with nothing but a liquid level indicator to tell them when it is full. It is exciting for them and they learn something new about how we can do things just the same as them. They asked some great questions too, as I always say, kids are the best people to ask questions as they don’t hold back and I wouldn’t want them to, because how else will they learn. Their innocence, naivety and thirst for knowledge means they always have great questions. It was the same at my son’s school.
In the end it was a great experience for me and I hope it was for the group to. I hope they learnt something about visual impairment and learnt of new and better more confident ways of helping and communicating with someone with sight loss. I felt honoured to be around such creativity, it felt like home.
Please check out the fabulous work that the guys at Fresh RB have created and information about how you could possibly help. You can also see the short films made for the silent elephant project here. They are doing an amazing job and I wish them so much luck for the future where I know they will grow from strength to strength.
Thank you as always for reading
Sending love and positivity