My name is Saum Idd, and I reside in Nairobi Kenya. My fellowship project idea involves working with teenagers between 14-18 years to teach them the art of storytelling and film to better express themselves and create content (films and documentaries) that have socially conscious messages to highlight and address issues happening in their communities.

What motivated me to start the project is from a personal experience growing up. I found my voice and learnt to express myself better when I started writing. My family had so much challenges and I was born in the middle of it. So in the process, I grew up to be very timid, afraid and my esteem was very low because I had to grow up so fast to meet the responsibilities of a family struggling with poverty and being the eldest, I had to forego my needs as a child, without question, without complaining and this almost got me into depression. I say that my imagination and fantasies saved my life because when I started writing, I found an outlet, I was whole and happier. The worlds I create in my head through the stories I tell are empowering and liberating and I’d want young people to realize this and use it in creating and living their dreams.

I learnt about Akili Dada fellowship online when a friend of mine shared the application with me. I decided to apply. What motivated me to apply was I looking for a mentor, someone to guide me and hold my hand because I have big dreams that scare me sometimes. When I saw an avenue for girls to transform and make their lives better and that of their communities I was excited, because I’m passionate about social change and teaching what I love the most. I am happy and humbled to be part of this amazing blessing that Akili Dada is giving me.

With the goal to tell more stories, my film education program seeks to teach teenagers how to use film to express themselves and issues happening around them. With more storytellers, the more informed our community is, and the more stories are told about people and their communities, the more lives are touched and changed.

In my free time, I practice yoga, read, write, travel, cook and watch movies. If I would travel anywhere in the world, I would love to go to New Zealand. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, I’d just get lost in touring the amazing landscapes and nature trails and meeting the Maori people.

I would want to change human interaction and relationships, how people relate with each other and the universe. There so much love to give and to share that we can’t have room for bitterness and hate, just pure joy and peace. That is the world I wish for.