A documentary that changed my view on poverty… and what we should do about it. 

I first found this film while I was living in South Africa s a volunteer in a refugee center. I was living in the guest house above the center and every day came down the staircase into almost complete madness. It was full of people coming in and out in complete desperation. I didn’t know the first thing about what it meant to be a refugee, and quite honestly, there is no way to fully understand unless you are one. Regardless, you can have empathy and compassion and do you best. What I learned was that no one wanted to be there, everyone wanted to be able to go home, or make this new home a real home.

One day we all got together to watch a DVD, while this documentary was available online we didn’t quite have the bandwidth to stream it. So we gathered around the projector and watched. This documentary opened up such a worm hole of curiosity and learning for me. I’d always been very pro-volunteering, travel, and social justice. However, this opened my eyes to so much more. 

Solar Mamas is available on WhyPoverty.net. This documentary as well as so many more shed light onto very hot topics. To be clear, I can’t say I agree with all of them. But I love what they are doing. 

Link to solar mamas documentary:  https://www.thewhy.dk/films/solar-mamas

One of the valuable lessons I learned was that when women have the chance to learn a skill – they share it. In addition when they have a chance to earn an income, they care for their children and communities. We need more teaching and sharing. We need more jobs and brave men and women who take the path less traveled – opportunity sharing. To be clear, charity is a needed and life-saving force around the world. But what comes after it? Where is the opportunity for one to stand on their own two feet… and if you’re a mom, care for all the feet around you? 

Branch Out Market isn’t about pretty jewelry and stunning handcrafted art – although we have that – because who doesn’t love a new beautiful piece? Behind each piece is a story and represents a ripple effect that goes clear around the world. Each basket, bag, or beaded item is a woman or a family member caring for their families. How cool is it that we can support women around the world in one global marketplace? 

I’m sure this solar mama film will get you fired up too! Leave us a comment on your thoughts! 

Caption: A child waiting for her mother at the Scalabrini Refugee Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo credit: Rachel McKinney


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