‘I Have Something to Tell You’ – documentary gives voice to young Liberian women
Kakata, Liberia, 28 August 2009 – After two decades of civil war, girls in Liberia must overcome many obstacles to achieve their dreams. A new documentary film, ‘I Have Something to Tell You’, is giving voice to a group of 10 ambitious young women who met in a workshop at the Liberia Youth Network’s centre in Kakata.
The film brought these young women together to share personal stories about their past lives, their dreams and their ongoing challenges. The filmmaker, Loch Phillips, helped them transform their stories into a script for the film.
“I was so blown away by some of the girls’ speeches that I was tearing up behind the camera, because I felt the power of what they were saying,” recalls Mr. Phillips. “People will understand that it's hard to maintain dreams like theirs in Liberia with all that is happening to girls.”
Coping with hardships
The young women in the film – Janice, Ruth, Joseta, Keturah, Yah, Jewri, Victoria, Elizabeth, Garnice and Betty – have all found ways to cope with the hardships of life in their country, and they are all determined not to allow Liberia’s troubled past to stand in their way.
In a culture where women are shamed for saying ‘no’, or shunned when they are the victims of sexual violence, Ruth had the strength to speak out.
Ruth wants to achieve many things, but she knows she will need help. “I am convinced that I cannot achieve these dreams alone,” she says. “I need education and help to foster my dreams into reality.”
Role of education
When Ruth left her house, she also left behind a life of illiteracy and domestic abuse. She has embraced her future and is ready to advocate for other girls.
Janice’s story: Mature beyond her years
“My name is Janice and I’m hurting,” she says, addressing her peers. “There are 10 great girls right in this room with dreams. Will they ever turn into reality? Or are we just dreaming?”
Janice is just 19, but she’s mature beyond her years. Well spoken and ambitious, she was clearly endowed with the gifts of intellect and curiosity – qualities that miraculously flourished even in war-torn Liberia, where more than a million people were displaced and thousands died during two decades of civil war.
Women bear the brunt
When she isn’t in school or in youth group, she works on a radio show that promotes positive sexual health messages for young men and women who wouldn’t otherwise have access to such information.
Janice says her long-term goal is to become a filmmaker or a journalist or, even, the second female president of Liberia.
A chance to speak up
Sadly, in Liberia, even the most determined girls can fail to overcome everything that is stacked against them.
‘I Have Something to Tell You’ gives these 10 women a chance to speak up about the issues that affect them. It gives them a voice to call for the support they need in order to achieve their dreams.
In the end, as Janice Pratt puts it, “There’s nothing wrong in dreaming.”
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