It’s Friday night and your scrolling through your Twitter feed. After a long work week, you’re in need of some inspiring content but all you can see are stories about disasters, crime, and unhappy people. Cut to Monday morning and you’re watching the news as you get ready to start a new week. Instead of seeing stories that give you energy and motivate you to get out the door and work hard, you see stories of violence, political drama, and tears. You can’t help but think of the age-old question asked by Bonnie Tyler – where have all the good men gone?
News from around the world is becoming instantly accessible to us, and while this can definitely be a good thing, it can also make it more difficult to escape pictures of helplessness. It’s easy to feel powerless and discouraged as a consumer of today’s media, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that it is time for a change. There are amazing stories out there, and they deserve to be heard.
That’s exactly what Kasha Slavner thought at age 14, and she decided that it was up to her to be the change that she wanted to see in the world.
When Kasha was 14-years old, she was lucky enough to attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women as a youth delegate and the youngest member of Canada’s longest-standing feminist peace organization, The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Kasha had been passionate about world issues for as long as she could remember, but at this Commission she conducted her first interview and recorded her first story of resilience in the face of adversity. It was this interview that inspired Kasha to create The Global Sunrise Project, a media hub that would produce content meant to inspire hope.
Her first project? A documentary showcasing the truly amazing stories of grassroots organizations around the world just like those she had heard about at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Immediately upon her return, Kasha took action by creating a crowdfunding campaign that would support her and her Mother/Producer Marla to take a trip across the world for six months in search of more stories of hope and resilience.
By her 16th birthday, Kasha and her Mom were boarding their flight to their first of seven countries, camera in hand. Over the course of the next six months, Kasha and her Mother would conduct 30+ interviews, take 120 hours of footage, and capture an immeasurable amount of hope and inspiration, which would all be turned into her first full-length documentary: The Sunrise Storyteller. Each story featured in the film shares accounts of overcoming adversity, introducing unique and inspiring solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Since its World Premiere at the 2017 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Kasha’s film has been shown at more than 50 festivals across the globe, winning more than 20 awards as it spreads its message of positivity and resilience. Kasha has continued her work of inspiring happiness and giving back through new and exciting projects like the publishing of a 200+ page book of photography (“Reflections of the Sunrise Storyteller – A Journey into the Heart as a Global Citizen”), touring with a 32-piece photo exhibition, and creating an online store which donates a portion of net profits back to organizations like those featured in her documentary!
I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no. You do not have to pack up and travel across the globe in order to be a global citizen. In fact, Kasha is trying to show the world exactly that. By sharing these stories of people making a difference despite difficult circumstances, Kasha wants people to know that “it doesn’t matter where you come from, what challenges you’ve faced, or what resources you have access to, where there’s a will there’s a way”.
The point behind The Global Sunrise Project, and The Sunrise Storyteller is to help us realize that we are all in this together, and Kasha writes that “any actions one takes, big or small, towards an issue they care about can make an impact”. That means that whether you’re the founder of a grassroots organization, the girl who found and shared their story in her documentary, or maybe even the person who shared a blog post about an amazing first-time documentary filmmaker with a heart of gold (*hint, hint*), you’re making change.
So, what actions are being taken by The Sunrise Storyteller these days? In addition to releasing a talk on changing the bad news narrative, Kasha is excited to be hosting a premiere for her documentary for the first time ever in her home city of Toronto on November 17th!
To hear more stories of people like Kasha, or ways that you can take action towards an issue that you care about, sign up for a free 365give membership today!