This article examines how 8-year-old children in a primary school in England develop new understandings of hardship and survival through the process of digital storytelling. The research presented here is part of a larger global literacy ‘Critical Connections Multilingual Digital Storytelling Project’ (2012-ongoing) working across 15 countries (Algeria, Australia, Cyprus, Egypt, England, Germany, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Palestine, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, U.S.A.) in over 36 languages. We build on critical literacy research which argues that in creating texts, such as digital stories, with an ethic of social justice, children have to navigate tensions existing within cultures, languages, and communities. In our research, we look at what happens when children create their own collaborative digital story, interrogating these tensions surrounding ideas and realities of social justice, and decide how to represent their lives and the lives of others. We analyze the filmmaking process and how a class of 8-year-old children create a digital story, A Reflection on Water, for the project. As part of the process of creating their digital story, these children walk around their school playground carrying heavy buckets of water, raise money for Water Aid, create a website, and want children across the world to get clean water. These young children become part of a wider digital storytelling community at a global film festival, and we examine their reflections on the digital story, From my Window- De ma Fenêtre, created by older 10-year-old children in their school. A Ukrainian child joined this class during the project and their digital story shifted to incorporate their collective response to the Ukrainian crisis. In conclusion, we return to the Critical Connections Pedagogical Model and demonstrate collaborative filmmaking can open up spaces for activist citizenship with young children, and stories of hope and resilience.