Community Film School and Facing Reality

Or, how to keep busy during an ongoing pandemic . . .

Interhouse soccer tournaments, daily gospel reflections, and Zumba videos can only get you so far—even with the usual schoolwork and household chores. So Marta, our director, has found a creative outlet for six of our COAR kids. She’s signed them up for film school! The program is in conjunction with a Salvadoran charity that works especially with youth and is focused on mental health.

Above, Raul, majoring in graphic design at the Universidad Don Bosco, discusses poster design with Glenda, Saraí, and Anderson in December. He has since joined them, and two other COAR residents, in the film workshop.

The film school originally started as a way to preserve the collective memory of young people who had lived through the Salvadoran Civil War. So, what stories are important to COAR’s kids, today? Well, the first topic they tackled was preventing emigration.

In conjunction with the UN observance of International Migrants Day, on December 18th, our COAR kids created a series of posters warning other young people about the risks of migration. Many of them know, first hand, that there are not only risks on the journey, there are also risks to those left behind.  Their care givers can fall victim to poverty and violence. In those cases some of them are lucky enough to find a new family at COAR.

Above, COAR kids gather around the computer for their Zoom film classes.

COAR provides a safe place where they learn, through workshops like this, education, and counselling, to change their own stories, find jobs, and form safe families and communities of their own in El Salvador.

Their next project focuses on an issue they’ve identified amongst their housemates: why some of them dislike or choose not to participate in group activities. This will be their first actual film.  They have begun by preparing surveys and interview questions and will be documenting the responses on video—putting their new video editing software skills to use!