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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>Ghanablogging Grande! Report from August Meet-Up

> Yesterday, at out monthly meet-up we had visitors from Maker Faire Africa, Maneno and some probloggers like WhiteAfrican. All in all about 20 people joined in at Smoothies in Osu.

We learned about Maker Faire Africa which is an initiative to boost African inventions, upscale them or just spread their usability from country to country. They have set up camp at the Kofi Annan IT Center in Accra for the weekend and I’ll be heading over there in a bit.

Also Miquel from the African-inspired blogging platform Maneno (meaning ”words” in Kiswahili) told us about how he came up with the idea after visiting the Kongo where internet is slow and expensive. Maneno is tailored for the subsaharan conditions and seek to invite more Africans to become bloggers. He posed some interesting questions to us.

Internet is quite reliable and not too expensive in Ghana. So would SMS posting be interesting here?

Discussion followed where most ghanablogging members seemed to think mobile solutions could catch on in Ghana. Also Internet – even if available – is largely restricted to the elite in Accra.

Miquel also asked:

What do bloggers in Ghana write about?

We had difficulties summarizing the rich and varied blogosphere in Ghana, but compared to the very different Nigerian blogosphere where blogs serve a more political purpose. IN Ghana we mentioned blogs about lifestyle, current affairs and poetry, but there are many other subjects. Coming up soon on ghanablogging.com will be listing blogs in “categories”, maybe that will help?

Finally, problogger Eric/WhiteAfrican/Afri Gadget talked about blogging as a job. Eric grew up in Kenya and Sudan and studied in the US. He told us how blogging started as a hobby, just like for most of us, and grew, grew and grew. He stressed producing your own content rather than just writing about others work or reposting it. A blog with new content, could be the only place to go for certain type of information! He writes about technology in Africa and when starting the AfriGadget site recently it quickly surpassed his popular personal blog, WhiteAfrican.

Not anybody can be a blogger, he said. You have to be consistent. After 6 months you have to keep posting, your readers will expect it.

Present were Ghanablogging members David Ajao, Samson Ojo, Toke Olagbaju, Nana Kofi Acquah, Nana Yaw Asiedu, Cornelis Rouloph Otoo, Edward Amartey Tagoe , Gameli Adzaho and Emmanuel K. Bensah jr.

and not yet members, but hopefully soon, Nii Ayertey Aryeh and Lora Akati.

Some of the interesting guests were Miquel Hudin of Maneno, Erik Hersman (WhiteAfrican and AfriGadget), Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, William Kamkwamba (lead name at MFA), ‘Tosh’ Hamilton Juma, Nigerian entertainment blogger Chika Okafor and Brian Shih.

And me.

It was the biggest number of bloggers so far convened in Ghana! Thanks to everybody for coming and maybe we should try to invite guests a bit more often?

In the pic: David Ajao, Eric Hersman and Klaas Kuitenbrouwer being nerdy.

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