Thursday, October 25, 2018

Liyana Review

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Last week I got to attend the opening of the movie "Liyana" in NYC. I thought it covered the very sensitive issue of children orphaned by AIDS with creativity and understanding. This is special if you get an opportunity check it out.

Liyana Review

Liyana is a gorgeous story where the landscape includes a documentary about five orphans living in Swaziland and an animated folk tale created  by them. When your country is peopled with over 100,000 children who are orphans growing up without their parents, one expects the stories told will be filled with strife, fear and hopelessness. Yet Liyana, the story created by the young people from Swaziland offers courage and healing, and a special look into the ravages of  a country plagued by AIDS.

In the documentary, Gcina Mhlophe, the leader and activist in a storytelling workshop guides the children whose lives have been colored by abuse, violence, hunger and AIDS to create a character that mirrors their own lives.  Liyana, the character they create is a good daughter. She is there for her mother when her twin brothers Thunder and Lightening are born, she cares for her mother when she gets sick and endures the violence of her father.  When her twin brothers are kidnapped she sets out with her beloved bull on a heroic journey to find them. This journey entails violence, hunger and despair along with brutal robbers, snapping crocodiles and a mean monster. The children are all to familiar with these obstacles so will they allow their heroine to overcome her trials or will she drown in despair?. With guidance from Mhlophe the children decide her fate, and in the process they create a powerful story that resonates with young and old.

In Liyana, the children "conjure a world of danger and enchantment that the directors (Amanda and Aaron Kopp) bring to life" while the animation from Nigerian artist Shofela Coker brings a visually rich and pictorial quality to the screen. Her sensual sunrise and lucious mangoes creates a world that is inviting despite the hardships of Liyana's life. The orphans' and Liyana's story are both touching and worth sharing. The film is on limited distribution in various locations so check their website for showings and distribution information.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Join Jumpstart for a Read Along of "Maybe Something Beautiful" on Oct 25.

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Jumpstart will celebrate their 13th Annual Read for the Record on October 25, 2018. They are inviting everyone to read this year's selection, Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael Lopez.

Jumpstart's Read for the Record brings together millions of people each year in classrooms, libraries, community centers and homes across the United States. This annual campaign was launched over a decade ago to highlight the importance of building early literacy and language skill for every child so that all children have the opportunity to enter kindergarten prepared to succeed.  Check your local library for special activities.

Can art transform a grey community? Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood tells the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California through the eyes and inspiration of a young girl who brings a splash of color to her community.

For more information and to take the pledge

Friday, October 12, 2018

We celebrate International Girls Day

In 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 International Day of The Girl. The resolution stated, "Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence."  

Today women are releasing their fears and finding their voices. As we work to empower young women, this day allows us to celebrate their new strength, their resilience and their dreams.