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Development   /  Jeni lee

Still I rise

Namrah the Brave survived trafficking, but now her community blames her – how will she rise up and own her name?


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Jeni Lee

  • PRODUCER Jeni Lee



When Namrah was first born her mother had a vision of a tigress. That is how she was named. Tonight, Namrah is lighting a fire for Bengali New Year, and as the light begins to chase the shadows away she feels like dancing. She has not always felt that way.

Two years ago was a dark time for Namrah. It was raining the day a neighbour tricked her to leave her village. In Kolkata she had to do things she did not want to do; she was angry and filled with self-disgust. Early one morning she was rescued. But when she returned home, the villagers bullied her and her brother beat her for the shame she had brought on the family. An elderly uncle stepped in and took her to a support group for trafficked girls. Now, when others call her names, Namrah stands strong, lifts her chin and answers, ‘No, my name is Namrah, the tigress.’

Still I rise is a short, animated hybrid-doc tackling the stigmatisation trafficked girls face when they return home.

Support this project

106.11% funded
  • $9,000.00

  • $9,550.00

  • August 2020

  • 74

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Girls from West Bengal are some of the world’s most vulnerable to sex trafficking. Most often they are trafficked by local people they trust. The trauma does not end when they are rescued. Many girls are stigmatised by police and shelter home staff. At home, survivors face physical violence, isolation, stigma, shame and guilt, perpetuated by their own family members and neighbours. This animated short film advocates globally to restore dignity and rights to survivors of sex trafficking and will be screened locally, to champion positive role models, who support girls during their reintegration.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has its foundation in the simple idea that "all persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Globally, survivors of trafficking are crippled by stigma, shame and isolation, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Evidence shows that by championing positive gender and social norms in a community, survivors are increasingly accepted and reclaim their lives as equal citizens of the country.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

In the short term, this short film will increase awareness around sex-trafficking and the impacts of negative social norms as well as generating empathy for survivors of sexual exploitation both locally and globally.

In the medium term, the film aims to create behavior and attitude change for survivors, their families, community leaders, influencers and policy makers. We also aim to attract funds for survivor reintegration programs.

This short film belongs to a slate of films, which together create a multi-dimensional impact film campaign, tackling stigmatisation of survivors. In the long term, this movement aims to: reduce rates of trafficking; create positive social and gender norms both within India and globally; and relieve girls of shame.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Facilitated community screenings will answer audience questions and raise awareness of risk. While communities in West Bengal mostly warn girls to be careful of strangers, the film highlights girls are mostly trafficked by people they know. A fact sheet will be distributed at these events with links to local support services. Additional screenings will target community leaders. The uncle in the film serves as a role model for those in positions of authority, influencing leaders to offer their support to survivors. A targeted fact sheet will be created for community leaders, with links to referral networks.

For survivors, the film protagonist Namrah provides a positive role model. The film shows ways girls can build strength and self-esteem, ultimately reclaiming their dignity. The girls will be given resources at these facilitated screenings to resist being re-trafficked.

Global online and social media screenings will give a link to further resources and support networks.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

My impact partner is Terre des hommes (Tdh) in India. Tdh are providing an ethical framework for the project, ensuring protection for participants. In addition, they are providing interviews that the film is based on and guidance on the film script and edits. Tdh have just completed an in-depth research project in West Bengal in partnership with Ask, tield ‘Social Norms Research on Gender-based Differences, Discrimination and Trafficking’. They are thus the best source of information for the slate of films that will make up this social impact film campaign. They partner with a number of local organisations in West Bengal who will facilitate screenings and local distribution of the film. They have global networks that we will utilise for film distribution.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

After watching Still I rise, I hope a global audience will reach into their hearts to empathise with survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation world-wide. I also hope they will reach into their pockets and donate to programs that assist with the holistic reintegration of survivors within their communities.

At a local level, I hope leaders will recognise their potential to help survivors of trafficking in their own communities.

At a personal level, I hope survivors will realise they are not to blame. I hope they can be free of the shame, disgust and self-blame that holds them back from living a balanced life, so they can restore their dignity and truly connect with others again.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Still I rise aims to: raise awareness and resilience to human trafficking; create new positive social norms in vulnerable communities; raise funds for holistic reintegration programs; assist survivors to re-engage in their communities.

Indicators of successful rehabilitation include:
-Development of life skills – coping skills, interpersonal skills, social skills
-Assimilation, mobility and access to social spaces and services without prejudice
-No stigma or discrimination in their families, social spaces or in interfaces with institutions (such as schools, hospitals, police stations)
-Survivors have the autonomy to take decisions affecting their lives

Our impact partners will measure the impact of the film after screenings by recording qualitative data in the form of survivor, family and community quotes. A short survey will be included as part of the educational package, providing a quantitative measure of the film campaign impact.