The Story So Far
Around 10% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, making them the largest minority on the planet. Across East Africa there’s a real stigma associated with disability. And, this is particularly true in the Mara district of Western Tanzania.
Out of the general Tanzanian population, 4.5% have some form of disability. In Mara it’s a staggering 13.2%. Disabled people in this area receive little or no medical attention, and are unprotected by government policies and welfare.
Children born with disabilities are often shunned from society, forced to live in very difficult conditions and sometimes even killed at birth. And the problem is circular. Most people think disabled people are a useless burden on society, and refuse to offer them an opportunity. Without a little bit of help, disabled people miss the chance to provide a rich contribution to society (and live a healthy, worthwhile life).
The Lake Victoria Disability Centre (LVDC) is doing incredible work in Musoma, a small town in Western Tanzania. They’re helping to combat the negativity associated with being disabled.
They provide treatment, teach sign language, offer eye examinations and supply wheelchairs. But, they also educate the local population about disability, and attempt to introduce disabled people into jobs.
Gentle Giant Productions is teaming up with the LVDC to produce a documentary to help break down the stigma associated with the disabled population. The idea is simply to highlight and confront the situation – in an effort to try and end it.
This isn't about thrusting difficult images into the viewers' faces to get them to donate to the LVDC's cause. It’s about exploring the deeper issues: How is disability seen in Tanzania, and in particular the Mara region? Why is this the case? What can be done to help solve the situation?
Despite their disabilities and the difficulties faced, the people who take part are all incredibly upbeat. This is NOT a story about the woes suffered by those with disabilities in this part of the world. It’s the story of what can be achieved by people if they’re just given a helping hand.
What's the plan?
The plan is very simple. To ask questions and observe. We don’t want to force the viewer to feel one particular emotion. They should take whatever message they want out of the story.
We watch as five main protagonists live their lives, simply witnessing the situations they face on a daily basis. This is then interwoven with ten supporting characters, who move in and out of their stories.
We’ll hold interviews with as many experts and people who influence the situation as possible (like government officials, medical experts, educators and so on). We’ll address what causes the disabilities, and what might be done in the future to avoid them.
We’ll also explore what’s being done, if anything, in the both the short and long term.
Where does your money go?
We’ve put together a budget which can be broken down very simply (for a more detailed description, please just get in touch and we’ll send one over).
The Lake Victoria Disability Centre will house the crew, as well as feeding and travelling them around the country. The money that we’re asking for today will be spent on crew travel from the UK, visas, work permits, vaccinations and malarial medicine – and most importantly, equipment.
In fact, there are a number of factors that are important when considering our kit. It needs to be durable, because if something breaks we won’t have a replacement to hand. It also needs to be lightweight and mobile, so we can go wherever we need to go with minimal fuss. This goes hand in hand with the aesthetic that we are looking to achieve i.e. we need to be small and subtle enough to fade into the background, and not affect events by making our presence too obvious.
The conditions can be very harsh. But we plan to capture some beautiful, stunning, moving images – and we don’t want to miss any opportunity by not having the correct equipment.
What happens to the film?
This film will be distributed as widely as possible. The internet gives us an incredible opportunity for a huge number of people to see it. And, in this sense our task will be accomplished – awareness of the situation in Tanzania and the East African area will be raised.
The film will also be shown on Tanzanian television, and entered into carefully selected film festivals across the world. We’re also in talks with several parties in the hope of securing a slot on television at home, although this is still to be confirmed.
Any donation whatsoever is worthwhile and much appreciated by those at Gentle Giant and the Lake Victoria Disability Centre. However, if you simply have nothing to add financially, we would love it if you could share our page as widely as possible. Tweet, retweet, share, like, blog, pin, stumble…you get the idea. We just want as many people to see our pitch as possible!
Even if we hit our target, the project will be made even better from any additional money. No, we're not being greedy – it just our target is a minimal one, and we can always achieve more by spending whatever we have on the right things.
Of course, anything that is left in the pot will go right back into the charity, supporting the incredible work that the LVDC continue to do in Western Tanzania.
The owner of this project has not made any updates yet.