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BYkids - Their World, Their Films

We create understanding through storytelling.

BYkids produces documentary films by kids to inspire conversations around global issues of human dignity and social justice. Sharing stories of kids (through PBS, Discovery Education and PenPal Schools) who confront issues like immigration, bullying, climate change and child marriage, we reach kids, teachers and parents with teaching materials that promote empathy and understanding.

HundrED 2022


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2022

Visual Arts in Education

Web presence






Target group
May 2020

About the innovation

Our Mission

BYkidsbelieves that we can understand the world’s challenges — and how to best meet them — through the personal stories of young people.

BYkids is a global movement that uses storytelling through film to inform, engage and inspire action.

BYkids provides kids around the world with the training and the video cameras to make short documentaries about their lives. Renowned filmmakers mentor these young people in the art of filmmaking.

Through innovative distribution platforms – including streaming into classrooms by Discovery Education, screenings by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the UN Association of NY, and, notably, the national series on Public Television – BYkids films enable fresh perspectives on issues from poverty, disease, displacement, civil war, repression, to access to education and tolerance to be experienced by a global community.

Millions of people are joining our movement, seeing our films, developing and engaging with our educational curriculum and supporting the production of a new series of films.


WNET | PBS LearningMedia | PenPal Schools

Free, standards-aligned educational resources, designed to be integrated into middle/high school curricula, engage students in meaningful conversations about world problems.

Instructional webinar hosted by WNET and accessible to all educators is promoted to more than 170,000 educators worldwide, including middle, Jr., and high school librarians, social studies and world history teachers.

Collection of materials accessible via PBS LearningMedia web portal, with more than 1.6 million subscribers, is available to all educators nationwide.

Companion course connects students globally around the films via social media and is available to all educators through PenPal Schools, an online learning community with more than 250,000 student and teacher subscribers from 150 countries.


The impact of these films is apparent at every screening. We see the joyful and at times, tearful reactions of our audiences, who consistently ask thoughtful questions in our post-screening discussions. Assessment tells more of the story.

After screening MY COUNTRY IS TIBET (the story of a young royal who retains his traditional culture in the face of persecution) for teachers at the national conferences for the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning and National Association of Independent Schools, we surveyed the audience:

  • 95% of teachers surveyed said that they would definitely use BYkids films and resources in their classrooms.

  • 83% of teachers found the film highly engaging.

  • 83% of teachers thought their students would find the film very or highly engaging.

As importantly, a questionnaire administered to a broadly representative group of students who viewed MY COUNTRY IS TIBET told us that:

100% of students said they would like to see BYkids films in their classrooms.

They found the film helped to expand their knowledge and understanding of world cultures and traditions.

100% of students were interested in doing a media project on what ‘home’ means to them.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Providing students from around the world, with a mentor and equipment to create a documentary film, BYkids empowers the next generation of filmmakers to express themselves through the beauty of storytelling and expression. This is extremely impactful as they work in areas where technology is not easily accessible. The films are then shared globally with teacher resources to amplify the message.

HundrED Academy Reviews

BYkids - Their World, Their Films is an extremely interesting and engaging project. It engages artistic interventions to affect senses through their expression and reception, complementing traditional ways of knowing and working in the art.

One of the best examples of BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD. A initiative which empowers the kids to be agents of change rather than millions of others who consider themselves as victims of the system.

- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

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