“WORLDbytes inspired me to ‘chase the dream’ and equipped me with the necessary skills and experience to begin my journey.”

I guarantee you no other organisation provides camera, lighting and sound training free of charge as well as the chance to get involved in a documentary! There was no way I could turn down such a unique opportunity. Plus, my mum would never forgive me if I had.

We were taught key camera skills (both behind and in front of camera) and how to work on lighting and sound when filming. After learning these skills and getting to know the other volunteers, we participated in on-camera discussions/ debates on contested topics such as immigration, Brexit & democracy. We were then provided with the exclusive opportunity to develop our own ‘My London’ project on things about London which concerned us – this included writing scripts, ‘recceing’ the filming sites and of course filming. My group based our ‘My London’ project on the lack of public toilets.

Volunteers in our crew suggested several things such as the overregulation of nightclubs, the number of surveillance cameras and the lack of public toilets. We liked the toilets idea best and laughed… as anyone would, I mean it is a peculiar idea. After our sniggers, we thought about the idea seriously… everyone could relate to that kind of issue. Who hasn’t been ‘caught short’ and it is an essential public service if rarely discussed. It would be fun to film and research as well. So we decided to go for it.

Francesca and Alexia (my wonderful fellow volunteers), and I researched the topic and possible filming spots, disused Victorian loos, gentrified loos, ones converted to bars and we spent quite a lot of days filming. We included vox pops with the public and interviewed owners of several pubs and restaurants about their views on the issue and people sneaking in to use their facilities. Presenting was harder than I thought and sometimes it involved lots of ‘takes’ to get it right. Since the video was published it has racked up a lot of views. As my face is on the thumbnail of the video, I have had one or two people recognise me, which I was rather flushed about (toilet pun intended). I have also mentioned it in a few interviews. I think it has raised some debate which is what all WORLDbytes videos aim to do and we’ve sent it to councils too. So in a small way our film can make an impact and in this case put the spotlight on the need for more loos.

I learnt much more than just statistics on the lack of public toilets in London. WORLDbytes gave me experience on and behind camera that I could find nowhere else for free. This included organising lighting and sound. Over and above these invaluable practical skills, I developed as a person, learning how to interact more effectively with those who have similar interests as me and I have managed to keep in contact with them. Getting involved in WORLDbytes did not just benefit me and then fizzle away. WORLDbytes continues to provide me with a plethora of other unique and exclusive opportunities I couldn’t find anywhere else. For example I won a Jack Petchey Youth Achievement Award and earlier this month I got to be a reporter at the opening of Bloomberg’s new HQ in Central London all thanks to WORLDbytes. No other organisation can brag the constant support, teaching of key camera skills and provision of amazing opportunities WORLDbytes provides its volunteers with. Also, I’m not sure many other people can talk about co-producing and presenting a documentary on public toilets in an interview.

I aim to get to university and afterwards I wish to present Geographical documentaries with hopes of getting involved in production eventually- kind of like David Attenborough… except a bit more Arab.

I feel like joining WORLDbytes as a volunteer revealed to me my potential in this field and confirmed that my goals, although ambitious, were not totally unrealistic. As cliched as it sounds, WORLDbytes inspired me to ‘chase the dream’ and equipped me with the necessary skills and experience to begin my journey.