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"I was taught at a very young age to fight for those who have no voice and to be grateful for what I have."

Jasmin Kozowy. Photo courtesy of Akila Berjaoui.

By Jasmin Kozowy

My name is Jasmin Kozowy I am journalist and activist. I recently made a film Generation A about the next generation of children and teenagers in Afghanistan. If you get a chance to see it, you will understand that education is the solution for Afghanistan and together we can positively support Afghanistan as an international community.

On my first trip to Afghanistan I was 23. It was 2012 and I toured the country as a media consultant for the US army. I was a type of spin-doctor for a special project working to stimulate local economy. Once on the ground, I saw the REAL issue was a lack of education. I made a promise to myself that I would go back independently and cover the REAL story of Afghanistan today.

Whenever I tell people about making GENERATION A the first question I get is about my safety as a woman in a war zone. They ask me if I was worried about my own personal protection and if I ever doubted that I could complete my film. My answer is, honestly, “Never”.

I was taught at a very young age to fight for those who have no voice and to be grateful for what I have. I’ve been gifted with a first world voice. I can freely create awareness for Afghanistan, so why wouldn’t I? I feel it’s my responsibility as a first world person.

Always as an artist we doubt our art; to me it’s the icing on the cake if someone likes your art or vision.

Since making the film in 2012, taking two trips of about two months each, the Afghan community has become my second family to me both here in Australia and in Afghanistan.  I miss the country all the time. I even miss the smell.

Never in my life have I experienced such a loving, open and family oriented culture.  Afghans are quite spiritual beings, but this side of their culture rarely gets reported on.

I grew up in a family of activists on a commune in Canada, so can relate to the importance of a strong community. I felt quite at home there, still that’s not to say all my trips were easy.

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During my time shooting the documentary I had to work hard,  as it was just myself and my fixer in Afghanistan. It took two months to shoot all my footage, which is a very tight deadline in the film world. For ten hours of my day I lived out of a 1994 Toyota Camry.  All I did was breathe in Afghanistan.

I think my happiest moment was giving out 722 boots to children in refugee camps. Since I was filming so often in refugee camps I started to notice none of the children had shoes and it upset me.

So, I created a crowd-funding page and posted on Facebook and within a week I received $1,600 dollars and was able to distribute 722 boots and school supplies. My fixer and I gave them out in secret one day with another photojournalist, Jake Simkin. I could not stop smiling; it was a natural high and addictive.

By contrast the saddest moment was leaving, realising so many of us have misinterpreted this great country.

Since returning to Australia I’ve had an overwhelming positive response to my film from the Afghan community here. Recently I was a guest speaker at Oz Afghan Charity event that raised 30k for schools, orphanages and a hospital.

I am encouraging people to see my film ‘Generation A’ with the simple message that one person can make a difference.

At 23, Jasmin Kozowy decided to merge her love for journalism and art, by setting out to produce her first feature length documentary. Traveling to Afghanistan Jasmin focused on the desires and hopes next generation of Afghans making her film ‘Generation A’.

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Opening Wednesday 16 April from 7.30pm

Palace Verona Cinema, 17 Oxford Street Paddington – Phone: (02) 9360 6099

PRIVATE SCREENING Tickets available here.

$30.00 

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