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Post-production   /  Henry Gosper + Cameron Trafford

Water For Birds

In the redlight area of Varanasi, India, an NGO-run education centre provides vulnerable local children with art therapy

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Impact areas

HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE

WOMEN & GIRLS

YOUTH & EDUCATION

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Cameron Trafford and Henry Gosper

  • PRODUCER Cameron Trafford and Henry Gosper

Synopsis

DURATION: 60 MINUTES

Water for Birds chronicles some of the trials faced by Annu, a former student who now co-runs the day-to-day operations of an educational centre in Varanasi run by local non-profit Guria, who fight human trafficking and multi-generational prostitution throughout North India. Annu embodies Guria’s transformational power. She is dedicated to the people of Varanasi, particularly those in the red-light district, and is an exemplar of intense personal growth.

However, she has not remained unscathed. Her taxing work has taken a toll on her health—her days are demanding and her nights are often sleepless. At one point in the film, her struggle is brought into focus when a distraught mother, caught in a quandary typical of the red-light district, comes to her for guidance. Annu must navigate precarious situations of this kind every day. They are part of the daunting task Guria have set themselves—of returning hope to scores of wounded children who are setting out to improve their lives.

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14.86% funded
  • $170,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $25,270.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • 31st May 2020

    PROJECT ENDS
  • 6

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Donations

Coco Garner Davis $50.00
Annabel Tucker $20.00
Sam Cust $100.00
Helen Butler $100.00
Megan Austin $1,000.00
June 2019 Donations 3 Donors $24,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

In India, one in every 10 children has been sexually abused. Moreover, nowhere in the world is the problem of human trafficking more pronounced. These are the two major concerns behind Water For Birds and Guria, the non-profit whose educational work it explores. So far, institutional responses have largely been fruitless. Human trafficking’s treatment by Indian decision-makers as a low priority illuminates a lack of synergy between key actors, from government departments to women and children.

The exploitation endured by Indian victims of trafficking and multi-generational prostitution is complex and variable. Most cases involve interplays of poverty, religion, tradition, gendered discrimination and self-fragmentation. In addition to material damage, the damage to a victim’s agency is severe enough to smother individual expression. Hence, critical thought, interpersonal connection and personal growth are also smothered. Guria’s educational efforts are oriented at resolving this.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

We want to:

Raise funds, so that Guria’s centres can be replicated more quickly throughout India;
Help remove the stigma associated with red-light children and workers;

Inspire powerful people to lobby for legislative changes to combat human trafficking and multi-generational prostitution;

Remind people living in comfort of the multivalent complexities of issues like trafficking;

And render viewers as committed to the film’s celebration of social harmony as possible.

Outcomes

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

We want to:

Raise funds, so that Guria’s centres can be replicated—and their philosophies proliferated—more quickly throughout India, where they are needed most direly;
Help remove the stigma associated with red-light children and workers;
Inspire powerful people to lobby for legislative changes that more effectively combat human trafficking and multi-generational prostitution;
Remind people living in comfortable conditions, in watching Water For Birds, of their privilege, and of the multivalent complexities of issues like trafficking;
And render viewers as committed to the film’s celebration of the sublime dimensions of social harmony as possible, even in view of the inevitable obstacles thrown up by modern life.

Stakeholders

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

We have developed a robust relationship with Guria. Again, Guria are primarily oriented at combating human trafficking and multi-generational prostitution; our film’s focus has been sharpened by their mission. During our self-funded production phase, we travelled to India and worked alongside Guria on three separate occasions, over approximately twelve weeks in total.

Unfortunately, Guria are unable to provide us with financial assistance, as their resources are already stretched thin. However, they have assisted us in developing Water For Birds in a significant number of non-monetary ways. We plan to return to India soon, and will be working with Guria in a variety of capacities throughout post-production. Ensuring high-integrity ongoing communication with them is a priority for us. Their website is accessible at guriaindia.org, and a list of their achievements to date can be found at bit.ly/2Jm10v3.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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

We hope that viewers:

Engage with the film in a level of detail appropriate to the density of its concerns, whether positively or negatively;
Donate to Guria’s efforts developing existing and new centres in India’s red-light areas;
Participate in the project’s attached global Community Screening Program, in which, again, organisations with overlapping concerns and other supporters can register to host screenings of the film at an appropriate local establishment;
Contribute to, advertise—and even establish additional—petitions, via various online mechanisms such as change.org, to further augment the film’s promotion and compile as extensive a formalised map of support as possible;
Implement some of the film’s teachings in their own lives, in ways small or large;
And assist in lobbying educational foundations and school boards at all levels to recognise Water For Birds as a valuable inclusion in curricula, to assist in bringing its methodologies to appropriate areas outside India.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

According to our impact plan, we will consider Water For Birds variously successful if:

It is accepted and considered in an appropriate level of detail at film festivals;
It generates increased donation to Guria’s efforts developing existing and new centres in India’s red-light areas;
It prompts participation in its attached global Community Screening Program, in which, to reiterate, organisations with overlapping concerns and other supporters can register to host screenings of the film at an appropriate local establishment;
It leads to successful petitions, via various online mechanisms such as change.org, that further augment the film’s promotion and collect tangible documentation of support;
And, finally, if it is recognised by appropriate educational foundations and school boards, at any and all levels, as a valuable inclusion in curricula, and especially if it is included in curricula.

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