Engage, Reflect, Create Through Documentar – A Time Capsule of NOW!

POSTED: October 8, 2020Category: Articles, COVID-19BY: AISA P9

Article authored by Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A., CBK Associates

“An individual may have knowledge of the negative happenings around them and feel belittled about their situation. Yet they must be optimistic, grab the opportunities which the circumstances around them have brought and be strong for the sake of what they have in their hearts and minds.” Debby, TEMA International School, Accra, Ghana.

This year, 2020, brought an unprecedented global pandemic of astounding magnitude and reach. Much news was broadcast, yet every narrative came from adults. Where was youth perspective and voice? What is their experience and what is their story?



Documentar emerged from this moment – a time capsule of now, an initiative to capture this otherwise elusive voice of youth to know what is happening in their lives, in their hearts and minds. As described by Surama King, TEMA International School, Accra, Ghana, “Youth have a lot to say, yet they are afraid of adult judgmental eyes and ears. Documentar is a safe place for our youth to be, to share. Powerful.”

We crafted documentar for youth to creatively express thoughts and feelings, what they envision for their future, and how they are impacting change for our collective good. Because of youth participation in documentar, we can witness, connect, care, and share stories in a myriad of forms from around the globe creating an authentic community using social media as the platform. What will you see on documentar?

  • Photographs curating daily life of stay-at-home.
  • An acrostic poem of Quarantine.
  • A colorful visual representation of “COVID” floating in an ethereal Parisian landscape.
  • A freestyle by a young rapper bemoaning his plight of being in his room constantly and the challenge of preserving t-paper.
  • A vivid report from Bwamulamira village outside Kampala so we, wherever we are, can know the impact COVID has on this community.

Documentar is home for what youth carry – the pandemic, systemic racism, environmental and climate change realities, whatever weighs on our shoulders, as depicted by the drawing from South Africa.

Why does documentar matter? Attending to wellbeing is a foremost priority, but how do we start? What opens the channels for communication? Now is a moment to pause and listen. Youth tell us, “I have been inspired by the diverse submissions on documentar.” Shei Ascencio, Luanda International School, says, “Students tell me that being part of documentar makes them pause, reflect and feel free to connect with their emotions. A place of peace and thought. The results are beyond expectations!”

Follow documentar on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter.

Bring documentar to your school with resources found here, or contact to arrange a documentar session for your school – for youth and educators (everyone wants to documentar!).

About the author:

Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A., CBK Associates, travels in-person and virtually to provide meaningful, practical professional learning to support educators, administrators, and students. Known as the author of The Complete Guide to Service Learning, Cathryn’s work extends to wellbeing and social and emotional dynamics, best teaching practices, meaningful curriculum, youth leadership, and restoring communities to be just, equitable, and culturally responsive. Cathryn is a writer, reader, dancer, thinker, friend, mother, partner, and grandmother living in Los Angeles where on a clear day, she can see the ocean. Always grateful for what educators provide every day

Nkoba, Bwamluamira Village, Uganda

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