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Statement of Purpose

We are Oak Tree Films, a student-run production company in Villanova University’s Social Justice Documentary class. Unified as a group, we aim to embody what the Oak Tree represents: a force of nature that is deeply rooted. The roots of the Oak Tree is the anchor that grows together, paralleling our collective goals of personal growth and connecting with others. As Oak Tree Films, we are grounded in our values of empowerment and advocacy for all.

In October 2022, Oak Tree Films traveled to Siaya, Kenya, and spent two weeks immersing ourselves in Kenyan culture with the guidance and hospitality of Dr. Irene Awino, a postdoctoral fellow at Villanova University from Siaya. Inspired by Dr. Awino’s research on gender and international development, we filmed a documentary that tells the story of the Siaya woman (Nyar Siaya), within the auspices of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals 4 (right to quality education), 5 (gender equality), and 6 (water and sanitation).

While in Siaya, we visited various women groups and interacted with community actors. One of the places that touched our hearts was Nina School for the Deaf, a primary boarding school that educates students with deaf, visual, and/or other physical impairments. Oak Tree Films was inspired by the devotion of the students and faculty in light of the societal stigma against disabled children that has contributed to the government’s de-prioritization of their most urgent needs. Here, we filmed a second documentary to share a story of a community of disabled children, their teachers, and staff who have chosen to defy the odds against them by shining their light in the school through sacrifice and determination.

As Oak Tree Films, we are excited to share many stories of the powerful women, students, and other community members that we met in Siaya across our social platforms leading up to the premiere of our two documentaries, Her Time is Now and NINA.

our Projects


Her Time is Now

To empower the woman is to empower the nation.

Watch as Oak Tree Films follows the powerful women of Siaya, Kenya as they rewrite their narratives within a dominant patriarchal context that structurally reflects the impacts of neocolonialism in formal education and religious ideologies that have hindered the advancement of women and girls. In this film, you will discover the creative methods of self-determination that the women employ to empower themselves and future generations.



"We are few, but we work together."
–Tom Nyugo, Head Teacher at Nina School for the Deaf

Watch as Oak Tree Films follows the amazing students, teachers, and staff at Nina School for the Deaf, as they establish community, prioritize deaf education, and pride themselves in the face of an ableist education systems. Witness the sense of unity among peers and staff, as they implement creative methods to encourage the success of their students. 

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