Friday November 15, 2019

Meet Khaldiya Jibawi: Her Journey from the Refugee Camp to her Movie Screening

Jibawi is one of the 80,000 refugees who went through the repercussions of the Syrian war

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Poster of "Another Kind of Girl". Image source: anotherkindofgirl.com
  • The movie is a record of the mundane lives of people at the camps after the attacks in Syria
  • She wishes to continue her movie-making even after she gets married, which is an unusual dream for girls in camps
  • The girl is concerned for the youth of Syria as she looks at them as potential power-structures

“Another kind of girl”, a 9 minute movie by a refugee from the camps of Jordan, Khaldiya Jibawi, is an exemplifying marker from the people of no man’s land. This 19 year old girl is achieving heights with her documentary being put on view Sundance, SXSW, Cannes film festival and now the Los Angeles Film Festival.

The movie is a record of the mundane lives of people at the camps after the attacks in Syria. Her family left the native land to move to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

The girl shies away as she celebrated her 19th birthday in the camp. Fortunately, she is not one of those girls who are married at early ages. On being asked about her not being in the normal scenario of a “girl-life”, she was hesitant to admit that her not being a wife is just a matter of luck and she cannot think of being at the same place for a long period.

Jibawi is one of the 80,000 refugees who went through the repercussions of the Syrian war. However, she feels content being nearby her essential land. The documentary was successful to be made by a media workshop conducted by the nonprofit “WomenOne”, mutually with “Save the children international”. The workshop was an effort by the organizers to bring to the fore the stories of teenage girls from the camps, describing their life.

khaldiya jawibi
Film poster. Image source: “another kind of girl”

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It comes across as a conscious attempt at their part as putting forth the authentic perspective only has given the documentary such weight to reach the renowned film festivals.

In an interview discussing her personal and professional life, she is seen as still in the same mode of living the not so grand but happy life, absorbed in her daily tasks of watching T.V. and doing household chores. What makes her life so interesting is the fact that the essence of Syria is still not lost and one sees a realistic depiction of her world. She remarks how sometimes while revisiting her shooting, she was surprised to know of the things happening around her.

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She wishes to continue her movie-making even after she gets married, which is not a usual dream of girls inhabiting the camps. She left her studies after the Ninth standard under the burden of household responsibilities, with her mother starting working. She seems to be too unpredictable of her future but does long to return to Syria. The girl is concerned for the youth of Syria as she looks at them as potential power-structures who can turn the tables for the country and re-build it.

On being asked about her movie, she asks her audience to look at it as the life of a society way too different from theirs and further says,

“People have a certain perspective about the camps, and I want them not to underestimate people. People shouldn’t underestimate us because who knows what we can be capable of accomplishing.” (Translated from Arabic)

by Megha Sharma, a freelance contributor at NewsGram. Twitter: meghash06510344

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Nairobi Hosts International Conference on Population and Development

“I think we can all agree that ICPD was a turning point, a defining moment in our history," Crown Princess Mary said

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Nairobi, International, Conference
Denmark's Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus Prehn, left, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, center, and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, attend the International Conference on Population and Development summit in Nairobi, Nov. 12, 2019. VOA

Kenya is hosting a United Nations-coordinated conference on population and development this week in Nairobi.  Over 6,000 delegates from 160 nations, including heads of state, are attending the three-day forum to discuss reproductive health rights, ending gender-based violence, and sustainable development.

The U.N.’s International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) opened Tuesday with repeated vows made at the first summit in Cairo, twenty-five years ago.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, a co-host of the conference, underscored the significance of the summit.

“I think we can all agree that ICPD was a turning point, a defining moment in our history,” Crown Princess Mary said.  “In Cairo, the world articulated a bold new vision about the relationship between population, development and individual well-being and the empowering of women and meeting people’s needs for education and health, including sexual and reproductive health, are necessary for both individual advancement and balanced development.”

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The U.N.’s International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) opened Tuesday with repeated vows made at the first summit in Cairo, twenty-five years ago. Pixabay

The summit aims to examine the progress made since a 1994 Program of Action drafted in Cairo.

More than 150 countries signed on to the plan, which placed women’s empowerment, individual dignity and human rights, and the right to plan one’s family at the heart of development.

In Nairobi Tuesday, heads of state stressed their countries’ policies and commitments to gender equality, sexual and reproductive health.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to end female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2022.

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Kenyatta was among African leaders who called also for ending child marriage.

“I believe that we can all commit to eliminate child marriages.  The percentage of young women between 20 and 24 years of age who are married before their 18th birthday has declined from 34 percent in 1994 to 25 percent in 2019,” said Kenyatta. “But the absolute number of girls under 18 who are at risk of child marriage is estimated at 10.3 million in 2019.”

Child marriage and sexual and reproductive healthcare are controversial issues in African nations where traditional cultures often clash with campaigns for individual rights.

In some countries like Kenya, laws that limit access to abortion services have fueled unsafe, often deadly, back-street abortions.

 

Nairobi, International, Conference
In Cairo, the world articulated a bold new vision about the relationship between population, development and individual well-being. Pixabay

At the conference Tuesday, the U.N.’s Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed tied women’s rights squarely to development.

“The power to choose the number, timing and spacing of children is a human right that can bolster well-being, economic and social development.  And when people can exercise their rights, they thrive,” said Mohammed. “And they do and, so do societies at large.”

To reach those goals, the Nairobi Conference on Population and Development is expected to produce pledges of financial support.

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But it will take more than money and talk to see some African nations enforce laws and regulations on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health. (VOA)