All around the world, there are tech-savvy young people trying to get their voices heard — to raise awareness of the social issues they personally are facing, to spark conversations, and find solutions.
All they need is a platform.
That’s why YouTube launched Creators for Change back in 2016, a global initiative dedicated to amplifying and multiplying the voices of role models around the world.
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It aims to spotlight inspirational creators who work to spark conversations and make a positive impact on the world.
The creators are essentially YouTube content creators, who are using their channels to tackle difficult social issues — everything from race and gender identities, to combating hate speech, to countering xenophobia and extremism, to simply making the case for greater tolerance and empathy towards others.
“There are a lot of these really positive voices, and we wanted to elevate those voices, whether it was dealing with LGBTQ+ issues, xenophobia, Islamophobia, or bullying,” said YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki.
To get onto the Creators for Change programme, filmmakers pitch their ideas to YouTube and, if they get the go-ahead, YouTube provides them with funding to make their video projects happen.
This year, the programme welcomed 47 creators — the 2018 class of ambassadors — including 31 new creators, and 16 creators who were involved in the programme last year.
They come from all over the world — including Indonesia, Brazil, the UK and the US, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, India, and France.
“Chosen for their passion and dedication to creating social change, these YouTube creators come from over 16 countries and represent a combined audience of 20 million fans,” according to YouTube’s statement.
As well as funding, the ambassadors get support and resources from YouTube to create their videos — including a two-day social impact camp at YouTube Space London, where they attend talks, take part in workshops, and have the change to connect with experts and other participants.
The initiative was launched in 2016, and since then it has grown year-on-year. This year, YouTube dedicated $5 million to the programme, and the creators that it supports.
Maha Jaafar @MahaAj, an ambassador for @YouTube's Creator for Change initiative, talks about how, through her videos, she works to amplify the voices of love, tolerance, and peace, as a way to counter online #hatespeech#Commit2Dialogue#SpreadNoHatepic.twitter.com/eoxzX6oar8— UNAOC (@UNAOC) November 19, 2018
This year, five of the creators had the chance to visit the UN headquarters in New York, to screen their videos to mark the International Day for Tolerance, on November 16.
“Ending intolerance means eliminating one of humanity’s ‘dark spots,’” creator Sukhdeep Singh Bhogal, also known as YouTube hip-hop artist and musician L-Fresh the Lion, told UN News.
Among the over 50 videos already published through the programme are:
#FindingNenek — The Girl in the Batik Dress, created by Nadir Nahdi
The video follows Nadir has he learns about the life of his grandmother, who died when he was three years old. He interviews his own family members, and travels to Indonesia — the birthplace of his grandmother — with the aim of answering his questions about her life.
He said he “grew up yearning for a sense of belonging, searching for somewhere to feel home.”
Fighting for Pride: Swaziland, created by Riyadh Khalaf
The video showcases the lead-up to Eswatini’s (formerly known as Swaziland) first Pride parade — and features interviews with members of the country’s LGBTQ+ community, as well as an exploration of the country’s LGBTQ+ history and present, with it being illegal to be gay.
The film also explores the stories of those supporting the LGBTQ+ community, including sex education clinics, and a church that allows members of the LGBTQ+ community to practice their faith.
An Impossible Dream, created by Louis Cole
The video tells the story of a teenager from Afghanistan, Ali, who was forced to leave his home with his family to flee the Afghanistan war. Ali is interviewed in the film, and describes his journey through Europe to Germany — and how his life has changed since.
“We knew it’s possible to don’t see the family again, to don’t see the friends again,” says Ali in the video. “But we did this because of having a better future.”
To find out more about the Creators for Change programme, click here.
The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is presented and hosted by The Motsepe Foundation, with major partners House of Mandela, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Nedbank, Vodacom, Coca Cola Africa, Big Concerts, BMGF Goalkeepers, Eldridge Industries, and associate partners HP and Microsoft.