‘Silence is a child’s loudest scream.’
It is a powerful tag line – which makes the fact it was dreamed up by a team of Sheffield teenagers all the more impressive.
Fifteen young people, aged 15 to 17 working with non-profit youth charity Element Sheffield have created a video on the subject of child sexual exploitation.
Now NSPCC Sheffield is to screen the video as part of its schools projects in the city.
“It’s incredible to see what they’ve achieved with this,” says NCS Sheffield team leader Will Earp.
Will worked with the local teens over the summer, who all signed up to Element Society’s four-week National Citizen Service course.
The free course, which runs several times during the year, gives young people aged 15 to 17 the opportunity to work together during school holidays, to develop skills and give something back to their communities.
“We’ve had 300 young people take the course with us so far this year, which is pretty good for a small charity like ours,” says Will.
“We work delivering development, social action and enterprise programmes to young people and vulnerable adults, and our aims are to empower young people to make a positive change in their communities, raise their own aspirations and become role models to their peers.
“The first week of the NCS course, we take them away on an outdoor adventure residential, the second week we have a local residential, and the third and fourth weeks is when the kids work on their social action project, which is about them identifying an issue in their communities and figuring out a way to give back.
“My team identified child sexual exploitation, and decided they wanted to make a video to raise awareness and to open people’s eyes to the warning signs.”
The group contacted NSPCC Sheffield and Will arranged a workshop with local production company Let There Be Light on how to put the video together – filmed entirely on an iPhone.
Tashinga Matewe, 16, a student at All Saints Sixth Form, takes on the main role in the film – which has already had thousands of views on Facebook.
She said: “We started brainstorming and were thinking of things like Help The Homeless, and other local charities and issues we could get involved in, but we really wanted to do something a bit different, and something that as children ourselves could relate to,” said Tashinga, who is.
“Child sexual exploitation is something we see and hear a lot about these days and it just felt like something that we could make an impact with.”
The tag line is also the name of the film – Silence is a child’s loudest scream.
n Visit nspcc.org.uk