Gbaa Mi Sané – Ghana Documentary in the Making

A few weeks back, I got a shout-out from AccraDOTAlt / the organizers of the initiative TalkParti (that I have posted on here and here) to back the documentary they are making. Using a website called Kickstarter, they ask for people like you and me to donate money for a documentary film.

Gbaa mi sané means “talk to me” in local language Ga. According to the AccraDOTAlt Kickstarter site:

“the aim of this documentary project is three-fold: 1) to document a youthful Accra, bold and cool enough to pull taboo subjects wide open 2) to get personal with young Ghanaians about their experiences on the margins of these subjects – as a lesbian woman, or a transgendered man, or a happy atheist, or a struggling artist in Ghana and 3) to exhibit the pulsating spirit of the indie music scene – the backbeat of Accra – through captivating performances and interviews with featured musicians.”

As I have been to many of these TalkParti events and experienced the uniquely creative and open atmosphere, today I was glad to donate USD 25. Although I find the aims of the documentary important and worthwhile, I have a slightly more personal reason for supporting the project. I want to show that documentary to my kids and say “Mommy was there when it all started!”

Do you think its important to document your surroundings?

(and if you by any chance also want to make sure this documentary is made, go to the Kickstarter page and follow the instructions, still one week to go before the opportunity to pledge is closed )

UPDATE: The project is now fully funded. Congrats to all of us and time to get to work, AccraDOTAlt!

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Mental Health in Ghana: Autistic Workers at Obama Biscuits

Through a comment on my recent post on mental health in Ghana, I was informed about this initiative where the organization Autistic Awareness Care and Training Centre (AACT) in Accra have organized a training program for grown ups with autism with the biscuit factory Obama (!) biscuits.

Read Robin Pierro’s informative text in full here from the Canadian organization Journalists for Human Rights and see the video she put together above.

This private initiative provides hope for the mental health situation in Ghana, but where is the Ghanaian state?

Thanks Wim for the link!

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Sponsoring Education: A Small Act

Just heard about the documentary A Small Act. The heartwarming story about a Swedish lady and a Kenyan school boy starts like this:

When Hilde Back sponsored a young, impoverished Kenyan student, she thought nothing of it. She paid roughly $15 dollars per term to keep him in primary school. She certainly never expected to hear from him, but many years later, she does.  The small contribution she made paid off – Chris Mburu went all the way to Harvard. Now, he’s a respected UN human rights lawyer, dedicating his life to battling genocide and crimes against humanity.

Many years later, Mburu decides to himself start a educational fund for needy children, much like himself growing up. What is so special about Mburu’s fund is he doesn’t take the credit for it, but rather decides to give it his benefactor’s name. Hilde Back educated one boy and he is now in a position to educate more children. The small act doesn’t seem so small anymore…

Doesn’t it sound just wonderful?

But then the election comes up in Kenya with all the confusion and violence. Also, few students seem to qualify for his fund due to poor elementary schooling. What happens now to the fund?

The film also has a blog, in which the filmmaker Jennifer Arnold tells us some interesting behind the screen stories, here is one about the screening for the Kenyans appearing in the film.

I told them I brought the film back, so they would know exactly what audiences would see and I wanted to answer any questions they had about what I had put in the story. Slowly they started to talk, telling me they didn’t think the film would be as real as it was. They said it was very, very touching. It made them feel both happy and sad. In the end they said the film showed the truth, and because it was all true it was good that I was going to show it, both here and abroad.

After the talk was done. We all went outside for tea. There seemed to be a huge amount of bonding and relief. They were teasing me, telling me I need to marry a Kikuyu because I know so much about them.

Of course not all sponsored kids go to Harvard, but maybe that isn’t the point. Maybe the lesson learned from this film is rather for the givers. Being involved makes a difference. And that is wonderful.

See the trailer below.

A SMALL ACT Trailer 2010 from Jennifer Arnold on Vimeo.

I’ll let you know when the film comes to Accra!

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