what is a video letter?

A video letter is a communication tool allowing  people to connect with communities around the world.   Video letters can take the form of a “postcard”– small video snapshots intended to be sent from one community to another, or to advocate for a specific social cause.  It can also take the form of a full length “Video Letter” that more closely resembles a media advocacy piece or short form documentary.   Both provide a simple, but powerful, framework for self-representation.

Youth media, and more specifically the video letter, has the following goals:

1. To Inspire youth to reflect about themselves, their communities and the world.

2.  To inspire leadership and advocacy within their communities.

3.  To provide the media tools and platforms (as an alternatives to mainstream media) to share their stories and raise awareness about their communities and cultural identities.

4. To open up communication and understanding between communities where physical dialogue is difficult.

5.  To empower youth to become advocates for social change, and proud members of strong communities.

A video letter is a youth friendly media advocacy tool that fosters self-representation and empowerment.  These films afford an opportunity for communities to provide inside perspectives that are often under-represented, overlooked or ignored by mainstream media.

Video letters are made through a series of workshops where youth are taught basic film production and journalism along with human rights and advocacy concepts including the rights of the child as declared by UNICEF in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

It is a relatively accessible and affordable means to self represent.  All that is needed are cameras, a computer with Internet access and an interest in creating youth media.

After the film is made, it can be shared with communities around the world.  We often use the video letters in workshops as an example and to inspire communication between two or more communities.  These films are also highlighted on this website– a nodal point for all the video letters which together will be a powerful manifestation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.