November 3, 2017

Learning to Become a Successful Change Agent

Young man holding a fancy camera surrounded by a group of young adults observing his actions with the camera Manish, center, during a filmmaking training session that he facilitated. During his Community College Initiative (CCI) Program in media at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College from 2015-16, Manish Chowdhury’s goal was to increase his knowledge of graphic design and animation so that he could become a media professional and provide leadership in improving the lives of others from disadvantaged communities in India.

Manish comes from a disadvantaged community in India, but rose in life through hard work and his determination to get a good education. He learned the basics of filmmaking and social media through training he received in Kolkata at a non-governmental organization (NGO) and through a year-long professional development and support program for young people.  When he heard about the CCI Program, he knew that the practical coursework at a U.S. community college would help him grow in his field.

Manish’s CCI program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) included an internship with a U.S. NGO where he gained experience in creating videos for teaching and marketing training skills to youth and adults with disabilities. “Although I was working with a NGO back home, I knew this would be a new experience,” says Manish, “It was really a good opportunity to get experience to reach my future goal to be a social entrepreneur.”

While he was at NWTC, Manish produced “Fear: a State of Mind,” a documentary film on racism, which attracted attention in his home country.  On January 10, 2016, The Times of India published the story “Slum Youth’s Reel Take on Racism” about Chowdhury and the film.  “My film shows that racism is a prejudice that can easily be done away with,” he said.  The film was screened at two Government of India academic institutions, the IIM (Indian Institute of Management)-Calcutta and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute

At the end of his CCI Program, Manish returned to India to work as a desk officer for the Community News Network Division of Prayasam, the NGO where he had previously volunteered.  The young people from underprivileged backgrounds Manish trains may one day be able to join the global network through the media they create.

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