Azadi. Swecha. Freedom.
No matter the language or dialect, freedom (or lack thereof) is an idea that humans around the world grapple with everyday. For students at Seetaphalmandi Government High School in Secunderabad, Hyderabad, and MGM Girls Government High School in Nampally, Hyderabad, this idea lent inspiration for their final projects.
Students at both the schools participated in a social media campaign called #TMSFreedomIs. Using this hashtag, students reflected on what freedom means to them, took photos representing this idea, and shared their thoughts on Instagram. This allowed their ideas to extend to a wider and more interactive network of people. We also talked about what it means to be responsible on social media, an important lesson as kids start to use social networks at a younger age than ever before. The campaign lasted about three weeks and we saw responses from people in Delhi, South Africa, Minnesota, and Boston. It was a great lesson in how to use social media to create productive conversation.
Then students reflected on how they wanted to share their ideas of freedom with the world, which is where the two schools differed.
MGM: Freedom for girls has always been a point of lengthy discussion at this all-girls school. As we talked more and more about what freedom means to us, it became clear that freedom for girls is an issue that the class cared deeply about. Due to this, students at MGM split into various groups and completed interviews, research, and creative interpretations of freedom in order to create a varied look at freedom from a girls’ perspective. Though there is a ways to go, the girls agreed that talking about the issues is a very important first step, especially since issues like child marriage and the ability to go outside the home stem from family. The girls created a print magazine to accompany the documentary in order to show their families and community to start the discussion about freedom for girls at a local level. Check out their ambitious film here:
Seetaphalmandi: Since the students devoted a few weeks to a classroom exchange with a school in Thailand (and had already done a documentary project), we focused more on letting the kids dictate what they wanted to see from the project. In their video, you will see their social media contributions, a poster project, and interpretations of what freedom means to them. Students at Seetaphalmandi are always enthusiastic about using the cameras and creating stories, which definitely shines through in this final project:
Overall, these students took on a very tough subject and were able to express some very nuanced ideas. I am proud of their work and I know that this discussion will continue as they grow in their education and lives. Interested in seeing more? Check out the hashtag #TMSFreedomIs on Instagram.