FilmAid International is thrilled to celebrate our successful program expansion advocating for refugee girls’ education in Jordan and Kenya! Through our partnership with the Malala Fund, Participant Media, Fox Searchlight Pictures, National Geographic, and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, we are bringing screenings of He Named Me Malala, Davis Guggenheim’s retelling of Malala Yousafzai’s courageous journey from timid youngster to brave advocate for girls around the world. Through FilmAid’s screenings and workshops, Syrian girls are gaining exposure to a relatable, tender-hearted, and strong role model. Our facilitators work with the girls to explore the very personal challenges and pressures they face in pursuing their education. Through our mentorship workshops FilmAid works with the girls to develop specific strategies for advocating for their own education among their families, friends, and communities.
In Jordan, the He Named Me Malala screenings support the broader efforts of UN agencies and international NGOs supporting the education of Syrian youth who often attend classes with 70 to 140 of their peers in a single class. These screenings have already had an impact, with Syrian refugee girls sharing their own stories about fighting for their education, expressing their hopes to return to Syria soon, and asking how they can be as courageous as Malala. Yana* a 15 year old girl living in Za’atari refugee camp, told us that she had to leave school while in the 4th grade at the start of the conflict. Now, Yana is learning calligraphy and glass-etching through a vocational program with the International Medical Corps. After watching He Named Me Malala, she said, “I will be even better than Malala!”
We’re also excited to bring our collaboration with the Malala Fund to our ‘Girls First’ education program in Kenya as well, where there are over 550,000 refugees living in two of the largest camps in the world. FilmAid is screening He Named Me Malala among refugee and marginalized communities in Nairobi as well as integrating Malala’s story into our existing Girls First programs in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps. The ‘Girls First’ program allows refugee adolescent girls to have access to mentorship through film-based discussions on education and other issues impacting their lives. The opportunity to express their own desires about their education and their future, and to relate those thoughts and feelings to Malala’s experience, has been a powerful experience for many girls so far. As Amena*, a 10 year old girl in Nairobi said, “Malala has impressed me a lot, and I hope that I have courage like her to achieve my own goals.”
Through these programs in Jordan and Kenya, we will be reaching over 35,000 adolescent girls.
*Names have been changed to protect children’s identities.