Project #3632

Transform Lives of African Youth by Making Films

by Hot Sun Foundation
Denis, trainee at Hot Sun Foundation
Denis, trainee at Hot Sun Foundation


I’ve always loved watching movies. I still do. You could even say that I was kind of obsessed with movies when I was a child. When I was about six or seven years old, my older brothers brought movies to our house. I would stop my homework then and I refused to continue because I wanted to watch the movies. At some point, my parents forbid my brothers to bring home any more movies. They thought the problem was solved. But it actually got worse. I started to go to movie shops to buy movies. But I didn’t have money, so I stole money from my parents. I won’t lie; I had a problem with stealing. But I only stole money to buy the movies. It was that bad with my addiction. It only stopped when my father decided to remove the TV. That meant no movies for anyone. At least I wasn’t stealing anymore. But it didn’t stop me from watching films.

In secondary school – I was fifteen – I decided to become a filmmaker. I realised that there were no action movies in Kenya, and the ones that are produced here are of very bad quality. But I loved action movies. So I thought I just had to do it myself.

There was a very difficult time in my life. I was born in Eastleigh, Nairobi, but when I was about ten my father died in a road accident. He had been the bread winner of our family and my mother didn’t know how to make a living in Nairobi without him. So my mother decided to move to Muranga’a with us. It’s a rural area where my father’s family lives.

My mother thought it was a good idea to move close to relatives. But instead of supporting us they tried to make my mother sell my father’s truck and get money. They thought she isn’t very smart and it would be easy to snatch money from her. But she refused. At this time my older brothers joined secondary school which made it even harder because my mother had to pay their school fees. She opened a little cereal shop and we managed to survive somehow.

Watch for the second part of Denis' story, when he comes to Nairobi to join Hot Sun Foundation to become a filmmaker. 

Your support makes it possible for youth like Denis to learn filmmaking at the only hands-on filmmaking training centre for youth who have the talent but not the funds to learn filmmaking. 

Over 70 youth have learned filmmaking at Hot Sun Foundation and are working in the Kenya media industry.

Our major grant ends this year.  We need your support to keep our doors open. 

Donate today at

Thank you for all you do.

Denis, making films with trainees
Denis, making films with trainees


Benta, Hot Sun Foundation Film School trainee
Benta, Hot Sun Foundation Film School trainee

I am Benta. I am 20 and I am from Mathare, a large slum in Nairobi. I live together with my mum and my older sister. I’ve been living in this place since I was born. When I was four, my father passed away.

We are lucky because we have good neighbours so it’s not dangerous for us women to live there. But it was hard for my mum to earn the money to support us, to give us food and to pay the school fees. She has a little charcoal business. She buys charcoal from someone else and then sells it in front of our house. It’s not much, but it is enough to get by. My sister helps her with the business and when I am home, I help her, too. But not now because I’m going to Hot Sun Film School every day. .

One day a few years ago, I was outside, doing the washing for my family. Suddenly, a group of youth passed our house. They were carrying cameras and other equipment. I saw one of my friends walking with them and I asked him what he was doing. He told me about community photography classes.

So the next Saturday I went to the photography classes. I found it so interesting that I joined. Since this day I’ve participated in many workshops. And now I am here, at Hot Sun Foundation, to gain an even deeper knowledge about photography and filmmaking.

I want to move away from Mathare. I’d also like to take my mother and my sister with me. Mathare isn’t so bad, but I don’t want to end up there. I want to improve my life, go a step further. I hope I can do this as soon as I earn my own money.

Now that I’ve been at Hot Sun Foundation for a while, I am more motivated than ever to go on with filmmaking and photography. I really enjoy the work. I think it can offer me the opportunity to fulfil my great dream – get into a plane and fly to visit other countries.

Hot Sun Foundation

Hot Sun Foundation offers opportunities to youth like me - to really learn filmmaking and make our own short films.  All of us who work hard and develop our talent will be able to make new lives for ourselves and our families. Almost all of the graduates get jobs in the Kenya media industry.

Bonus Day TODAY Wednesday 16 July 2014

That's why I am asking all of you, your families, your friends to donate on this very special day, Bonus Day,  today Wednesday 16 July.

Today and today only, your donation will be matched 50%!  But don't wait.  Donate now please.  Funds are limited. 

Your donation is very important just now, because the grant from the  major donor for Hot Sun Foundation is ending this year.

Please go to  now and make a donation.

Thank you for all you do! 

Benta shooting her film
Benta shooting her film


Ronald training other youth at Hot Sun Foundation
Ronald training other youth at Hot Sun Foundation

Ronald's Story

I grew up in Kibera, a very large urban slum in Nairobi. I was only nine years old when my dad died. Then when I was thirteen, my mom died. I had to leave Nairobi with my younger sister and go to my grandma's house in Western Kenya.

I had some luck. I got a scholarship to a high school in Nairobi. After high school, I got a sponsor for technical training, but the sponsorship abruptly ended.

I didn't know what to do. I just wanted a job. My younger sister was depending on me.

A friend invited me to a workshop at Hot Sun Foundation. Then I applied to the filmmaking training class.

My life has changed big time since Hot Sun Foundation trained me in filmmaking.   Now I have a profound interest in cameras and becoming the best possible cameraman and eventually a director of photography.

I am working as a cameraman with local and international film crews in Kenya and even in Tanzania and Uganda.  I am supporting my younger sister, paying her school fees and helping out my uncle who lives on a small farm in Western Kenya.

My life has direction and purpose.

Thank you Hot Sun Foundation for uncovering the talent that I didn't know I had.

Why should people support Hot Sun Foundation?

When I look at myself, I see that Hot Sun Foundation saw my possibilities. Since I joined Hot Sun Foundation, my life has changed totally

Hot Sun Foundation has changed the lives of many youth from the slums, who are now working successfully in the film industry. Hot Sun Foundation has changed the negative stereotypes against slum youth.

Quality training in filmmaking is very costly.  Up to date equipment is needed. Learning filmmaking is beyond the means of all the youth living in the slums of Nairobi. 

 We need more people to support us. Then we can get more creative people from urban slums into filmmaking. We can change the life and living of youth through what they see they can do in filmmaking.

BONUS DAY Wed. 16 July 2014

Please mark your calendars for Wed. 16 July BONUS DAY starting at 9 am (New York USA time).

On BONUS DAY, your support for Hot Sun Foundation will be matched 50%!

ONLY on this day.

 Donate any amount on Wed 16 July Bonus Day.

Donate EARLY in the day before the funds run out.

Donate online at

I want more youth living in Nairobi to have the opportunities I have had.

Asante sana. Thank you very much.

Ronald training other youth at Hot Sun Foundation
Ronald training other youth at Hot Sun Foundation


Stephen filming at Hot Sun Foundation
Stephen filming at Hot Sun Foundation

Greetings Global Givers!

My name is Stephen. I am from Kibera, a large urban slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

I came to filmmaking through working with a dancers group in Kibera called Wayo Wayo. I worked with a volunteer who was making a documentary film about organizations in Kibera, including, Hot Sun Foundation. That experience made me long to become a filmmaker and that's how I met Hot Sun Foundation.

When I complete my filmmaking training at Hot Sun Foundation, I hope to do documentaries, especially about groups like Wayo Wayo.

What I like best about Hot Sun Foundation is the people. The teachers are very good and open-minded. I also like the atmosphere at Hot Sun Film School. Everyone is so friendly and interactive. I’d noticed this already when I approached Hot Sun Foundation for the first time to gather information about the training. It felt like home immediately.

So Global Givers, please support Hot Sun Foundation because it is the only school that has affordable training in filmmaking for youth from slums like Kibera and gives young filmmakers the chance to improve and activate their skills.

Thank you.  Asante sana. 

Stephen with Hot Sun Foundation trainees
Stephen with Hot Sun Foundation trainees


Sammy, center, with Film School grads now trainers
Sammy, center, with Film School grads now trainers

Name: Sammy

Age: 22

How did you find out about Hot Sun Foundation's Film School?    

Before I came here, I had a little business with a friend. We used to sell DVDs in the streets. One day we decided that we wanted to sell our own films on DVD. It became our dream. So my friend started to look for schools. He walked around in the city, called people he knew. One of them used to be a trainee at Hot Sun Film School. This is how we got the connection.              

What do you like best about Hot Sun Film School?

I mostly like that everyone here is so committed to the subject. This pushes me and gives me the motivation I need. Furthermore, I love the readiness of the equpiment and that we have access to modern technology. It really enables us to learn as much as we can.

Why should people support Hot Sun Foundation on Global Giving?

Hot Sun supports young filmmakers that don’t have the financial means to attend a private film academy. By supporting Hot Sun, people support the filmmaking youth. They feel wanted and supported. They are even more motivated to carry on with filmmaking. Furthermore, there is a huge growth of local themes. So we need more filmmakers to tell all these stories. This can be achieved with the help of Hot Sun.

 Thanks to all supporters who make Sammy's dream come true... making his own films instead of selling DVDs on the street.  It's only possible with your support! 

Sammy with other Hot Sun Film School trainees
Sammy with other Hot Sun Film School trainees



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Organization Information

Hot Sun Foundation

Location: Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Nathan Collett
Nairobi, Kenya
$50,478 raised of $70,000 goal
688 donations
$19,522 to go
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