Wednesday, February 16, 2011
From: Kristen Swanson
To: Film or production students interested in a life-changing project
Seeking a Videographer for our Service Trip to Rwanda
The Institute for Women’s Excellence (IWE) is a secondary school that serves girls orphaned by genocide and AIDS in Rwanda. The school is a project of ALARM, African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries, an African peace and reconciliation group based in Rwanda and doing outstanding work in Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Sudan, and Uganda. (See www.alarm-inc.org for more information on the organization).
In 2008, two seventh graders in Bucks County, PA, decided to write a book about the girls of IWE in order to raise money for a much needed dormitory. They have raised over $9,000 so far with the book, Inzozi, Dreams of the Future. The dorm has been completed, and they are continuing to raise funds for equipment and scholarships for individual girls. This summer I will go with the girls and a few other students and parents to the school in Rwanda to interview the girls, collect more detailed interviews, and revise the book, with the goal of publication. (So far they have self-published at Staples).
One former student, now a talented film major, has had to withdraw from the trip, and at first I just thought that I would take home videos of our trip and settle for that. But now I have received a request from ALARM for good quality film of their Rwandese staff, all of whom were affected directly and dramatically by the genocide, and have powerful stories to tell. I know I am not up to producing quality work that is worthy of their courage and commitment to making peace under horrific circumstances, and so I am looking for a creative film student that is able to do this project with us, for ALARM.
The cost of the trip is about $2500-3000 for a week in Rwanda. Conditions will be very basic, but as safe as any tourist travel can be. Crime in Rwanda is low, and the country is committed to maintaining peace and never again allowing genocide to occur. I have ten years of experience living and traveling in Africa, and will do my best, with the ALARM staff, to steer you in safe places. What will be in the most danger are your assumptions about Africa, the limits of human forgiveness, and perhaps your whole outlook on life. After our project, I am going to Tanzania with the group, for a few days in a game park, and then to explore examples of international business development, education, and health care, since my students are interested in those careers. You are welcome to come along to the game park and to see places like hospitals, schools, and small businesses, but the cost will add up fast once you get on the tourist circuit! I will be happy to estimate those costs for you if you are interested.
If you are interested, contact me at the following:
98 Old Bethlehem Road
Quakertown, PA 18951