Film is an easy way of capturing people’s attention and for the film makers in Gulu, the opportunity was used to produce films that could entertain while creating awareness on issues.
Two films directed, acted and produced by Northern Uganda Neighborhood Films (Nuhood Films), were premiered last Friday at Smiling Panda, Gulu.
The films; Save A Mother and Shame of Puberty, left revellers wondering why those concerned were not playing their roles to change the society positively.
Nuhood is a pre-dominantly children and youth indigenous film art organisation and the films were about educating on issues affecting girls and women.
Shame of Puberty is a story of a girl who drops out of school since she cannot afford sanitary pads and her sick aunt cannot do much to help the situation.
She opts to give education a break because she cannot endure the bullying from boys, but later learns to improvise with locally made pads. Here, her hopes for education are restored and somehow she becomes a role model in the society. Those who mocked her at the end of the day become beneficiaries of the local project.
Save A Mother on the other hand highlights the challenges affecting expectant mothers in hospitals. In one of the scenes, a mother is neglected because she does not have a mama kit and a life is lost.
According to Francis Ojok Odong, the director of Shame of Puberty, absence of sanitary pads during menstruation in girls and women is worrying.
“It causes shame and sometimes there is total isolation of women as a result of cultural beliefs and stigma,” Odong said, adding that since most young school going children cannot afford pads, most of them will stay away from school because they are ashamed.
Anthony Okello Odong, the director of Save A Mother said the film was inspired by the number of mothers who lose lives while giving birth.
“We all have a role to play as far as fighting maternal mortality is concerned because today is her, tomorrow is your mother or sister,” he said.
DP President Norbert Mao, who was present at the premiere, lauded the youth for exposing these issues in society.
“I have learnt a lot. As much as you were moved by these challenges, you have also moved us all. So the question now is, what should we do?” Mao said.
He pointed out that Save a Mother is about humanity. “There is a lot you can do when you have humanity in you; people have saved lives under trees,” Mao said.
He urged the youth to use their talents and skills to solve the problems in society and appealed to local governments to embrace local talents to allow youth to profit from it as they solve community challenges.
The director of Christian Counselling Fellowship, Alice Achan, pledged to support the youth and use them to sensitise the public about education of girls , maternal mortality and menstrual hygiene.
“Being a mother championing girlchild education and fighting teenage pregnancy in this region and Uganda at large, I will use these films to create awareness about issues in the society,” Achan said.