Visual Artist

‘Walk on My Own,’ a film by 13-year-old Ndeye Fatou Fall is a finalist at the 2022 International Film Festival.

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff Writer

Kids tell honest and important stories, yet they often go unheard

Walk on My Own’ is a film by13-year-old Ndèye Fatou Fall. In this 30-minute heartwarming, beautiful film, Ndèye illuminates the cultural shift in Senegal that has allowed her to remain in school and to make decisions about her own future. The trailer of the longer documentary is a finalist in the MY HERO 18th International Film Festival (the maximum length allowed to enter the festival of short films is10 minutes).

149601Ndèye Fatou FallCourtesy of BYkids

The trailer begins with a smiling, dancing Ndèye singing: ‘Knowing ourselves is our responsibility. When I go for it, I win win win’ and if this film is anything to go by, then she certainly knows how to do just that! Ndèye’s intention for the film is to educate other communities, particularly those that continue to practice the traditions of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and child marriage.

Said Ndèye:

My film is about the changes that have occurred in my community. Today, these social changes are of great importance, especially for children. If I’d been born in 1990, I would be married by now. Many communities still do harmful practices, like child marriage. Tradition is very strong, and to abandon these practices is difficult. When people from other countries watch the film, if they are still practicing child marriage and female genital cutting, they will wake up after they see this film and will want to stop doing those things. 

In the full film, Ndèye tells how her life has been affected by profound changes that occurred in her village a few years before she was born. In 1998, Keur Simbara, Senegal was among the first communities to publicly abandon the traditions of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and child marriage, traditions which had been practiced for centuries. More than 700 million women living today were married as children and F.G.C. has impacted an estimated 200 million girls and women in 30 countries worldwide.

Mentored by Emmy-winning filmmaker, Elizabeth Hummer, Ndèye Fatou takes us on the journey of a cultural shift which fundamentally changed the course of her life and those of her peers. We learn how the women of Keur Simbara and the surrounding villages were inspired by the teachings of Tostan, a human rights non-profit based in Senegal, and how they, with the help of their Imam, were able to change deeply entrenched social norms. She records the story of a woman who lost two daughters from complications of FGC and learns from another what it was like to be forced to marry a friend of her stepfather at the age of 12. Through these interviews we see how the hardships these women endured helped create an inner strength that inspired them to become advocates for the empowerment of women. The wave of change in villages like Keur Simbara has ushered West Africa into a new era. Ndèye Fatou’s film richly illuminates that she is part of a new generation of African women who are, for the first time, able to complete their education, marry whom they want and make their own decisions.

149602Mentor: Elizabeth HummerCourtesy of BYkidsEmmy award-winning Hummer is committed to helping children tell their stories and be understood.

Said Hummer:

Young people are in a rapidly evolving state of making sense of their worlds and their place within it. By helping youth to tell their stories authentically, BYkids assists them to become more grounded in their personal truth and confident about their place in the world – locally and globally. I am proud to be a shepherd to the individual wisdom of young people on behalf of BYkids. Nothing is more effective in bringing peace to the world than this exchange of self-knowledge.

Walk On My Own was a Youth Division finalist for The Japan Prize, Winner of Gender Equity Prize at Prix Jeunesse International Festival and was invited to screen at the Skoll World Forum. The film is screening at the UNC World View Conference on October 12th 2022.

You can view the film HERE.

To find out more about BYkids go to:

To find out more about the Film Festival go to: /Films/festival

Join us on November 19th at 2pm PST for the 18th MY HERO Film Festival Ceremony, the celebration of the best of humanity. The featured winning short films shine a light on activists, peacemakers, environmentalists, humanitarians, artists & others who make a positive impact in the world. Congratulations to the filmmakers for bringing these important stories to life. Thank you to our prestigious Awards Presenters for their vision and generosity! Register HERE.

AND: Save the date for the Family-Friendly Awards Celebration on December 10, 2022, at 10 am (PST). Festival winners and their heroes will be on hand to answer questions and share their stories. Short clips from select films will be screened. Categories include narrative, documentary, music videos, animation, experimental, trailers, spoken word and PSAs. Awards are given to winners at Elementary, Middle School, High School, College and Professional levels. Register HERE.



Page created on 10/1/2022 12:36:17 PM

Last edited 12/9/2022 5:00:46 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

BYkids Website - At BYkids, talented young storytellers from around the world are paired with seasoned filmmakers to create powerful documentaries about their lives.