Student creates short film to address stigma against mental health | Aga Khan Academies

Student creates short film to address stigma against mental health

25 November 2019

For her personal project, titled "Listen", year 10 student Wanjiru Kihanya created a short film addressing the stigma against mental health in Kenyan culture. Here, Wanjiru explains her personal project, what inspired her to create it and what she envisions the future of her personal project will look like. 

"The goal of my personal project was to sensitise the Kenyan community about the topic of mental illnesses. My target audience were people between the ages of 30-70 because of the lack of knowledge or ignorance I’ve faced from this specific age group. The fact that they choose to disregard this topic made me want to bring this topic to the forefront and into the light, which is why I chose to do the project in the form of a short film. 

I think it is important to discuss the topic of mental illness at a young age due to the fact that the older generation was never well educated on the topic and it was rarely ever a conversation during their youth, hence their ignorance. Obviously we want to break that chain of ignorance and create a more understanding/open minded generation that will have a more sensible approach to the topic. 

I hope my video was and will be able to get people to tap into their emotions and that they emotionally connect with the characters so that they can understand their stories and circumstances with depth. I want my video to be an eye opener and a "Wow, that's how serious it is," moment for many. 

Hopefully I am able to move forward with my personal project and do greater things with a larger impact over time regarding the topic. If I do happen to continue with this project, I will aim to direct it at a larger audience outside of just the Kenyan community. I plan on using the feedback I got for this video to make the project more effective. I also want to get more people to collaborate on the project with me. I would like to start online forums where people can feel free to share their outlook on a topic and where others can read and also add their personal input. Lastly, I want to hold discussions between both older people and the youth as well so that they can find common ground. 

So far I do believe my personal project has had the effect I had hoped it would have, and I believe it has the potential to be bigger than it currently is."

Click here to view Wanjiru's short film.