Tapestries of Hope: See A Movie, Make A Difference

September 26, 2010 If you’re an overloaded procrastinator like me, and you’ve waited until the last minute to snag tickets to Tapestries of Hope for the big one night only 9-28-10 nationwide premiere to support girls and women EVERYwhere, you can still find the film near you and use media’s magic to instantly do your part for The Girl Child Network WHEREVER you are.

Shaping Youth adviser and filmmaker Michealene Cristini Risley has painted CNN Hero Betty Makoni’s story on film using the camera lens as her canvas of inspiration to bring hope and help to young girls in Zimbabwe AND push forth the petition for the  I-VAWA Int’l Violence Against Women Act championing change on a global scale.

As Michealene summed,

“The most striking element of the documentary Tapestries of Hope is not the hell that the young rape survivors profiled have lived through, but their unbreakable spirit. “

Yep, as their site says, it’s a vibrant international call to action and a breathtaking portrait of hope in the face of overwhelming odds.

Here’s a review of the film by Women Thrive Worldwide(a site shaping US policies that lift women/families out of poverty in keeping with The Girl Effect) and you’ll see that despite the tough subject matter, the Tapestries of Hope movie trailer is incentive enough to bring all the girls in your world to a local showing pronto! I’m still boppin’ to the beat of the music, heart-nourished and singing the song of how we can best use the power of media for positive change…

THIS film is one way, right here, right now.

As you know, I’m a big fan of “Playing For Change””Games That Give” and other FUN ways to introduce philanthropy to kids, and no age is too young to have “girls helping girls” in a pay it forward concept for Tapestries of Hope outreach.

Whether it’s a “send a card” element ($1.50 per card goes to help the girls in Zimbabwe) a mobile “Text to Donate” campaign: Text HOPE2 to 368674 (increments of $5 via GiveWire) or gorgeous wearable art in their store, you can bring even the youngest girls into the loop to help them learn how to help others…whether you can make it to the  movie or not!

More? Social media fans can of course ‘like’ the film on Facebook, but better yet, Tuesday, Sept 28 at 2pm PST everyone can tune into Tapestries of Hope interviews on Facebook Live…

On Twitter, you can follow @TapestriesMovie which has been using elements of ‘transmedia storytelling’ to offer blips and blurbs that reveal the backstory of the filmmakers trials and tribulations just getting the movie made, from prison time to film gear confiscation…it’s a drama in itself.

Here are just a few of the links that tell the story: news from AllAfrica.com and Voice of America about Michealene being arrested, tossed in jail, and deported for filming activist Betty Makoni’s Girl Child Network about the bitty baby survivors of horrific rape and abuse. (men with HIV/AIDS are tainted by the mythology that having sex with a virgin will cure them of the disease)

I’ll give some of my ideas for Shaping Youth on this tough topic at the end, since violence against girls and women makes even the most stalwart passionistas squirm with empathy and anger, ready to take action with ‘what can we do NOW’ zeal. But without further ado:

“If you’ve loved a woman: Mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. See this film.”

Here are a few more ways Shaping Youth has chosen to impart the tough subject matter while engaging with teens in dialog to better understanding of the plight of young females on a global scale. Here’s an excerpt from the way back machine when we were first deciding how to impart the plight of girls in Africa to girls elsewhere providing an “in her shoes” type of global experience.

Making jewelry, making change:

“Our newest Shaping Youth Board member is award-winning documentary director Michealene Cristini Risley who’s asked our help in getting teen girls involved in social entrepreneurship to make a difference in the lives of girls in Africa.

I nominated Michealene for the 2008 GWLN (Global Women’s Leadership Network) Women Leaders for the World…but quel surprise…she was too busy ‘doing’ to slow down long enough to ‘apply!’

Michealene’s Tapestries of Hope/Women of Africa film raises awareness of girls’ plight in Africa from malaria, AIDS, abuse and horrific cultural fates. Dicey topics in and of themselves, softened by handcrafted rituals that have served women for eons.

By providing tween and teen volunteers jewelry-making kits with easy instructions Michealene is stringing together the lives of girls on all continents to raise awareness of globally renowned human rights activist Betty Makoni and the Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe.

Here’s her heart-wrenching letter to President Mugabe on the Huffington Post blog…

Obviously, children have different thresholds of truth and grit, but jewelry-making bridges the gap by creating important work with hands-on activism, while reminding girls to appreciate their own cultural environs, and think outside the box (meaning media/TV) to other world affairs.

clasp_aids_malaria.jpgShaping Youth will definitely be hosting a jewelry-making party with African music, food, and fellowship as well as our local tribe of delegates from GWLN to spread the world among other Women Leaders for the World. We’ll update as plans progress…

Sounds like an awe-inspiring mother-daughter gathering, gal pal slumber party activity, after-school club educational program (blends geography, health sciences, sociology, anthropology!) and fun, easy way to literally make social change happen with your own two hands!

More Inspiration to Weave Tapestries of Hope In YOUR World?


Try House Parties —either to open up the topic about violence against girls and women, or place girls ‘in her shoes” with gentle bridging of cultures and mapping of ways kids can help. In this post we talked about Michealene’s use of IndieGoGo to fund her film and how kids can ramp up  ‘HouseParties’ on a global scale…

women-who-light-the-dark.jpg“We’ve found kids relate to the plight of other individuals besides themselves when they see peer to peer action, like the Harry Potter Alliance tackling the Darkness of Darfur or hear of Women Who Light the Dark like Michealene or Paola Gianturco, who recently spoke at the GWLN Dialogues.

I’m not saying everyone needs to join the DoGoodChannel (although this new free web service in beta IS neat, connecting people with causes and nonprofits) but when kids can think outside themselves early on, it adds wholeness and perspective. It’s all about balance so children don’t feel the weight of the world too fast, but it sure puts some grounding into petty lunch table spats, friendship foibles, or being dissed at the dance, ya know?” (see our series on marketing mindfulness and the big give philanthropy)…

Where Inspiration Meets Admiration: Betty & Michealene:


After I bring some of our teen team to the film 9-28-10, I’ll look at fresh ways to tackle tough topics like violence against girls and women both at home AND abroad, since October is the month to raise awareness on same.

For starters, here’s policy in practice to gear up for taking action and help pass I-VAWA! We’ll be working with survivors to raise awareness throughout the month of October, stay tuned…and meanwhile:

Tell Congress to Pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA)!

Thank you Women Thrive Worldwide!

“Imagine a world without violence against women. Finally, after decades of silence and inaction, there is one bill that will bolster US efforts to end violence against women across the globe: The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA)

Approximately 1 of out every 3 women globally has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime.

Violence against women includes abuse by spouses or partners in the home, rape as a weapon during wartime, dowry related deaths and forced prostitution. The distress and injuries caused affects families, communities and wider societies, preventing women from taking full advantage of economic and educational opportunities and threatening security by increasing social tensions.

Violence against women is a global health crisis, an egregious human rights violation, and a moral outrage that knows no geographic or cultural barriers. It is also a major cause of poverty: it keeps women from working, going to school and earning the income they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA, H.R. 4594, S. 2982), is the most comprehensive piece of legislation addressing violence against women and girls worldwide.

Working through the international assistance that the U.S. already provides, this bi-partisan bill would expand our government’s ability to prevent violence against women caught in conflict, support non-governmental organizations that are combating violence on the ground, and put the U.S. unequivocally on the record with countries around the world in saying that ending violence against women and girls is a national priority.”

Related Reading/DV-Rape Culture/TOH on Shaping Youth

Shaping Youth Via Tapestries of Hope

Shaping Youth Via Philanthropy (Kids’ “in her shoes” convos)

Shaping Youth: Vote Girl Child Network’s Betty Makoni For CNN Hero ’09

Nicole Kidman Honors CNN Hero Betty Makoni’s Girl Child Network

Depravity Gone Viral: (16 yo gang rape photos on Facebook)

Tornado Warning: What Does A 13-year Old Boy Know About Girls/Violence?

Eminem/Rhianna Backdraft: Differing Views on DV/Dating Violence

Attention KMart Shoppers, Dating Violence on Aisle 3

Related Reading/Betty Makoni, Girl Child Network

CNN Heroes: Ordinary Heroes, Extraordinary Impact

Vote for Betty Makoni, CNN Hero 2009

Girl Child Network Worldwide

Girl Child Network Zimbabwe Unveils New Executive Director

World Children’s Prize newsletter excerpt on Betty Makoni

Betty Makoni in Unsung Heros 2009

Betty Makoni and 22 million children’s prize

Coverage for Betty Makoni CNN Top Ten Hero, ZBNNEWS, November 13, 2009.

CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, CNN US, November 26-30, 2009.

On Canadian television the founder of the Girl Child Network talks about what drives her: October 22, 2009. Video

Meet Betty Makoni, Afronews, 11-2-2009 (Online)

Meet Betty Makoni, Afronews, 11-2-2009 (Print)

Tapestries of Hope/Michealene Cristini Risley

TOH Filmmaker Documents Activists Fight Against Rape in Zimbabwe 9-21-10

Michealene’s Open Letter to President Mugabe

Gratitude Musings After Incarceration in Zimbabwe

Media Blog Awards: New Communications Review Salutes Tapestries of Hope

Cinematical: Review of the Teaser Trailer

Sundance Film Festival

The Survivor Personality

Help Girl Child Network By: Seeing the film Tues Sept 28, 2010 AND supporting Tapestries of Hope.com & aligned friends:

www.gcn.org.zw
http://www.ashoka.org/

http://www.firelightfoundation.org/

www.freshwaterhaven.org

http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/

http://www.newfieldfound.org/

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