Monrovia, January 19, 2010 : Straight From the Heart Group, a Liberian owned Non Governmental Organization on Thursday, January 14, 2010 screened for the first time in Liberia, the movie Who Does She Think She Is? at its headquarters on the S.K.D. Boulevard, in Congo Town, Monrovia.
Who Does She Think She Is? is a Mystic Artist Production, directed and produced by a U.S. based filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll. The movie portrays the lives of five women who use arts to be self reliant and maximize their potentials through creativity.
“The movie shows women all over the word that despite the odds, they can use drawing and painting to stand up and be equal with men in homes,” said one of the young women who watched it.
According to Straight From The Heart’s Executive Director, Agnes Umunna, the movie is expected to be screened all over the country once there is sufficient funding from her partners in the United States. She told reporters in Monrovia over the weekend that the project is been sponsored by the U. S. filmmaker and producer Pamela Tanner Boll and the Wellesley Center for Women.
Over 30 Liberian women between the ages of 17 to 35 watched the movie in the Straight From The Heart’s conference room, with smiles on the faces while they munched on snacks. At the end of the movie, the women broke up into three small groups to discuss and give their reactions about the movie.
During the group discussion, some of the women said that they are presently experiencing some of the difficulties that the women in the movie underwent. In their words: “We feel sorry for the women and also feel sorry for ourselves, but for them at least they had people to support them to take up those art works.”
Oretha Johnson, 32 said she hoped Straight From the Heart will not only show them the movie but will be able to help them start “some thing on their own.” She added that “if we can be empowered to get training in various skills like the women in the movie, I think we will be able to do more than what they did or have done.”
Korto Freeman, 34, a young woman with three children, whose father died during the Liberian civil war said, “I think this movie should be taken to the counties where women are only considered to be always in the back of the house and to take care of the children. No! Women, like you see in this movie are people who too can make their own and not only wait for the man to come from work and bring food money. Its time that we get up and fight for our children.”
Straight From The Heart’s Program Officer, Morris Dunoh encouraged the women at the end of the movie to engage other women in their communities, and spread the word about Who Does She Think She Is?
“Tell your friends, your sisters, and other relatives, that those days where men sit say women belong to the kitchen are over, those days where women stay home to only take care of the children and cook for the men are over! You must rise up now and start to do some thing for your selves, so that your men, or husbands will be very proud of you,” Mr. Dunoh said.
The women praised Straight From The Heart and Pamela Tanner Boll for her courage to produce the movie. They commended the team for thinking about the women of Liberia and finding a means through which they too can learn from the experiences of other women around the world to “maximize their potential to the fullest and be self reliant”.
Straight From The Heart was created in 2005 as an hour long radio program to aired the true life stories of victims, survivors and perpetrators of Liberia’s 14 years bloody civil war that left over half of the country’s populations destitute, maimed and vulnerable, while others got killed during gun battles in and around the country. The brains behind the creation of the radio talk show, Mr. Joseph Roberts Mensah (Kojo), Chief of the United Nations Mission in Liberia Radio (UNMIL Radio), did not stop at creating the radio program, but encouraged the presenter of the show, Agnes Umunna to set up a trauma healing and reconciliation center where victims and perpetrators can come together and discussed their past and hence forge a common ground. Many of these impoverished and traumatized Liberians now live in and around the country’s capital, Monrovia where they survive on less than a dollar a day.
SFTH provides medical referrals and psychosocial support services to traumatized Liberians, especially women and former child soldiers in Liberia. Since the centers were created in 2006, it has helped both victims and perpetrators get psychosocial support services. The Centers were located on the Old Road Community in Monrovia, and another at the General Services Agency compound, which is now referred to as ‘Baghdad’ in Monrovia. The centers are now not totally active as a result of lack of funding to keep the program running. SFTH is however appealing to its international partners and donors to provide funding or support in any form to keep the program running in Liberia. SFTH also intends to take the program to other war torn countries such as Sudan, Congo and recently Kenya which suffered post-elections violence.
Rhoda Davies –Communications Assistant SFTH Liberia ( 00231 6 827308)