WALKING WITH LIFE
The Birth of a Human Rights Movement
A Film By Kenny Mann
DVD 39 mns. Color. English narration, other languages subtitled
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You must walk with life or you get left behind.
This is the story of the extraordinary social transformation triggered by human rights education in Senegal.
With help from the NGO known as Tostan, people in Senegal come to their own understanding of human rights and democracy, triggering a re-evaluation of their belief systems and ancient practices. Learning about their right to good healt leads a group of women to question the tradition of female genital cutting (FGC), previously thought to be enshrined in Islamic law.
The news from their Imam that FGC is not a requirement of the Qur'an ignites a national movement to abandon the ancient custom, joyfully celebrated in public declarations across the country. Tostan participants become human rights educators, performing comic sketches on the use of condoms in family planning and the dangers of FGC. In the Qur'anic schools known as dara, boys traditionally expected to beg for food now receive their meals from neighborhood "mothers", allowing them more time for education and job training. Entire communities eagerly tackle issues such as health and hygiene, environmental concerns and girls' education as Tostan's method of "organized diffusion" spreads the human rights movement throughout the country and across its borders. Understanding the right to a life free from discrimination leads to the break-down of cultural barriers between ethnic groups, thus opening up new areas for cooperation, intermarriage and prosperity.
Punctuated by the songs of the griot (oral historian) who documents this process, the people, villages and towns of Senegal spring to life as the film pulses to the dramatic beat of traditional music and dance. Whisked from the placid villages of the Casamance to the harsh desert of the Fouta and the teeming streets of Dakar, viewers become eye-witnesses to the empowerment of a people through human rights education.
In 2007, Tostan received the 2007 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, a $1.5 million dollar award that honors a nongovernmental organization that has made "extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering."CLICK HERE TO PLACE YOUR ORDER