They make quite an unusual pair. One a tall, lithe, articulate South Sudanese refugee in his mid 20s, the other a gravel-voiced, world-toughened youth worker in his 70s. Yet the partnership of these extraordinary men is radically shifting the dangerous refugee culture of Melbourne's inner west, towards a resilient and inclusive community. Gum Mamur arrived in Australia at 12, from a Kenyan refugee camp. He spoke no English and had no skills. With years of renowned youth advocate Les Twentyman’s guidance,Gum has now transformed into a college-educated youth worker. Together, they’re teaching refugees/at-risk teens, vital life skills to keep them in school, out of court and out of trouble. They take these skills from Melbourne to work with youth internationally in the USA, Italy and Africa. Together, Les and Gum show the world their successful model for helping young people become part of resilient communities, recover from their trauma and reclaim their Right to Belong…
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
There are over 68 million forcibly displaced people in the world. This includes 30 million refugees and asylum seekers forced to flee their own country due to violence and persecution. When refugees arrive in Australia, they are often placed in ethnically diverse and lower socio-economic communities. The Les Twentyman Foundation (LTF), located in Melbourne’s inner west, is one such community. As a result of the refugee’s language issues and past trauma, the young refugees often fail to integrate into their new culture. This leads them to join gangs, get into drugs and violent crime, just to feel a sense of belonging. Les Twentyman and Gum Mamur work directly with these young refugees and at-risk youth through inspiring skills-based programs. The aim of this film is to show both the macro and micro of this global refugee crisis, both through Les/Gum working directly with youth in the USA, Italy and Africa and also through the life experience/empathetic eyes of these two unique men.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
We aim to inspire the international audience to directly engage at their own local community level with at-risk youth and refugees. It’s via one-on-one engagement through volunteering or supporting programs such as LTF, that we create truly resilient and inclusive communities. We will foster a sense of belonging to community and show that it is also about us evolving our society and learning to welcome the courage and infusion of new perspective that comes with embracing diverse youth.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
A disconnected society has a profound and measurable impact on our local communities and the wellbeing of all its members. This film will inspire people to engage with their local youth organizations directly. Secondly, we will raise awareness of the broader international issue of refugees and the crisis of their massive worldwide displacement, through working with our charitable partners across the globe. We will find working solutions through these partners and promote them to our international audience via our website for the documentary. Our audience will then be encouraged to either volunteer for a charity within their area of interest or raise money/fiscally support that charity or many.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
We have currently partnered with LTF and may find other relevant charities we wish to align with through the course of production. While LTF already has its own charitable status, in order for us to maintain journalistic integrity and separation from the subject, we’ve applied for fiscal sponsorship with Documentary Australia. LTF has also given us full access to Gum and Les for the purpose of story development. We will also utilize LTF’s hands-on knowledge of at-risk youth and refugees, to help us develop a targeted social impact campaign that will truly provide real, tangible and quantifiable outcomes.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
We hope to inspire our international audience to take direct action, investigate their own local charities, so that they become involved and work towards an inclusive and resilient community.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
While we will undoubtedly hear anecdotal feedback of the audience’s changed perception about at-risk youth and refugees, we will also have a way to track their behavior via cookies on our website and also any direct link we provide through to our charitable, philanthropic and social impact partner’s websites. This should help us get a sense of the quantifiable outcomes from our documentary and the related social impact campaign.