Vlogger wins third Mazda Make Things Better Award

  • Project by journalism graduate Patricia Charro Herrera to re-examine the concept of home
  • Prize money to fund documentary, workshops spotlighting plight of refugees in Europe

A Spanish journalism graduate whose video blog seeks to redefine the meaning of home in the wake of the massive displacement of refugees living in camps across Europe has won the third-annual Mazda Make Things Better Award. Video blogger (“vlogger”) Patricia Charro Herrera, 22, will use the €10,000 prize to fund production of “Home World”, a video documentary. It will tell the stories of the refugees, portraying the psychological damage they have suffered from seeing their homes destroyed or imperilled. The idea behind the film, to be co-directed with project associate Verónica González, is to create a better understanding of the concept of “home” while also laying a foundation to provide psychological support to the newcomers.

“The project focuses on the challenges faced today by some of the most vulnerable people in the world, people who have left their homes behind to build new lives,” says Charro, who operates “‘Home World’ seeks to examine how home is a place that lives in our hearts and minds rather than a physical location where we reside. Verónica and I are thrilled to being able to pursue this initiative.”

Once finished, the documentary will form the basis of a series of art psychology workshops taking place in social centres, refugee camps and elsewhere across Europe to help promote a sense of home for these migrants while at the same time creating tolerance and acceptance among the host country populations. The duo expects to complete the documentary in early 2017 after filming at four camps for several months this year.

“Ms. Charro has found an innovative way to raise awareness of one of the most pressing social and political issues in Europe today,” says Wojciech Halarewicz, vice president communications at Mazda Motor Europe. “The project is so compelling because it leverages new methods of communicating to express ideas with the aim of helping others, which is precisely the purpose of the award. Putting a new perspective on the concept of ‘home’, a most basic human right, also resonates well with what we stand for at Mazda.”

Charro’s project was chosen from 50 submissions received last November in Barcelona during the 15th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Now in its third year, the Mazda Makes Things Better Award was conceived to encourage young challengers to put into action inventive ideas to foster positive change in the world. The inaugural prize went to Finnish medical student Antti Junkkari in 2014 for an initiative to reduce gun violence in Africa, reaching millions of people through a low-cost radio campaign. Last year, Japanese international relations student Yuka Kawamura won the award for her project to create an online platform offering free tutoring and mentoring services to students around the world, particularly from underprivileged environments.