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Mira Nair film highlights plight of Ugandan children

© UNICEF video
‘The Young Ones Who Won’t Stay Behind’ is a new documentary by celebrated filmmaker Mira Nair. It calls for greater attention to the needs of Uganda’s most vulnerable children.

GENEVA, Switzerland, 4 December 2008–The voices of Uganda’s most vulnerable children are being heard, thanks to a documentary film produced by the critically acclaimed director Mira Nair, in association with UNICEF.

‘The Young Ones Who Won’t Stay Behind’ premiered this week in Geneva. The aim of the documentary is to focus greater attention on the needs of Uganda’s most vulnerable children, particularly those living in the north and northeast regions of the African nation.

Basic child health indicators in the semi-arid northeast, the traditional home of the Karamojong people, and where 89 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, are the worst in the country. 

© UNICEF video
Northern Ugandan families are rebuilding their lives after years of war. Mira Nair hopes that her documentary will serve as a message of hope for developing communities.

Northern Uganda continues to see the robust returns of internally displaced populations from camp settlements to original homesteads, but an estimated 800,000 persons still remain in camps because of a lack of infrastructure and basic services. 

“At this halfway mark to the MDG target year of 2015, we must make the right choices between peace and war, between stagnation and a renewed push for a healthier tomorrow. All children deserve a fighting chance to survive and develop.  To waiver now at the crossroads would be to fail children,” said UNICEF Representative in Uganda Keith McKenzie.

‘A message of hope’

The documentary revolves around children and their caregivers in two different Ugandan communities. The film makes clear the importance of increasing children’s access to education and eradicating child mortality. 

“In the north, families are rebuilding their lives after years of war. In the northeast, elders have started to accept a move away from their warrior-farmer traditions to ensure stability for future generations,” said Mira Nair.

The 13-minute documentary includes first-person accounts by the featured children. It also examines the link between primary education and child survival.

“I am inspired by the fighting spirit of these children as they take their future into their own hands,” she added.  “I hope this film will serve as a message of hope to other developing communities.”




4 December 2008:
Watch highlights from ‘The Young Ones Who Won’t Stay Behind’, the documentary film by Mira Nair, in association with UNICEF.
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