Click for kindness

A GenZ filmmaker is on a mission to document kindness in Canada

Published: 06th March 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th March 2022 05:13 PM   |  A+A-

Fifteen years ago, when eight-year-old Kasha Sequoia Slavner founded her first business of selling homemade sugar scrubs, it marked the beginning of her journey into the world of kindness. A few years later, upon discovering her love for photography, she started a photography card line called Kasha’s Cards of Kindness. With every business she launched, Kasha made sure that 50 per cent of the funds she raised was donated to support women’s shelters, children’s hospital wards, neighbourhood clean-ups and the homeless in her hometown of Toronto.

Kasha Sequoia Slavner 

At 14, she was attending her first UN conference on gender equality as the youngest member of Canada’s oldest feminist peace organisation, The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, where the incredible stories of women and youth from around the world inspired her. These were people from grassroots organisations who were working on finding sustainable solutions to some of the most daunting issues impacting women and children.

Kasha knew immediately that she wanted to use her ability to capture stories, something she’d honed since launching her photography card line, to motivate social action. This was when the Global Sunrise Project was born.

Once home, she convinced her mom of her plan to travel the world and document stories of ordinary people who’d triumphed over adversities and extraordinary circumstances to do their bit to bring about a positive change.

Kasha believes that the media often focuses on negative news and conditions us to feel overwhelmed, disempowered and apathetic. With the Global Sunrise Project and the subsequent film it evolved into, The Sunrise Storyteller, she aims to turn the spotlight on positive and impactful narratives.

‘Giving back has always been at the core of what I do. I have always believed that taking action was the best way to make a difference,’ she says.

Coming from a single-parent household, she relied on the kindness of strangers to raise money for the project. It took a while, as many thought of her idea as cute and her as only a 15-year-old child, but Kasha finally fundraised enough to be on the road for six months.

The mother-daughter duo travelled to East Africa and Southeast Asia to gather tales of hope and resilience, ending with the story of Canadian Vietnamese napalm bomb survivor Kim Phuc who speaks of forgiveness and peace.

Since the release of the film in 2017, it has been screened at 60 film festivals and won 30 awards, including the Ron Kovic Peace Prize.

‘Giving others hope is an act of kindness,’ says the now 23-year-old, her dancing fringe matching her enthusiastic smile. And she hopes that the stories she tells through her photography, film and words inspire people to get involved in humanitarian problems and understand what it means to be a global citizen.

Her next film, 1.5 Degrees of Peace, explores the link between peace and climate movements past and present, through inspiring stories of young climate and peace activists working on the front line of these issues.

Today, the Global Sunrise Project is a team of social impact storytellers who work to create alternative narratives that reflect resilience, passion and hope, all with the aim of making the world a better place, one inspiring story at a time.

‘Small actions = big change’, reads a poster in an early YouTube video on the Global Sunrisers page and knowing that the self-proclaimed socially anxious filmmaker Kasha has initiated such change is an inspiration in itself.

Extracted with permission from #Kindness Matters (UNESCO MGIEP), published by Penguin Books


Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer (United States)

Sometimes even a small sweetness—a kind word, a kind act—is robust enough to take root, and though its perfume soon fades and its petals wither, the roots persist so years later, when you least expect it, there in a forgotten field, or perhaps in your own well-tended yard, you catch the scent of sweetness and follow it until you find the fragrant bloom of it again not at all diminished by time. No, maybe sweeter because it was forgotten. Sweeter because with roots like that, you now trust it will come back again.

Curated by The Alipore Post


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