Friday, 25 June 2010

A Small Act - EIFF - Cineworld - 23/6/10

I’m not what you would call a “charitable” person.

I don’t have any direct debits for the myriad good causes there are.

I haven’t ever ‘phoned in and donated money to Comic Relief or any of the other charity telethons.

Occasionally I will drop a coin in the bucket being waved in front of me as I enter the football stadium on a Saturday.

It’s not that I don’t care about those less fortunate than I am it’s just that I am too lazy to fill in the form...I also love to procrastinate.

“A Small Act” follows the story of one woman who did make the effort to show some charity and the impact that has had on the lives of many, many people.

Hilde Back left Germany in 1940 to avoid the concentration camps. She fled to Sweden but without her parents and slowly began to build a new life. At some point in the late 1970’s she decided to sponsor a child in Kenya. The sponsorship money would pay for the childs education through high school (children in Kenya do not receive free secondary education).

As far as Hilde was concerned that was that.

It didn’t cost her very much money and it was absolutely no effort.

The child she sponsored was Chris Mburu. After high school he went on to University, specifically Harvard where he graduate in law. He is now a human rights lawyer for the United Nations. He always knew the name of the woman who had sponsored him and eventually he met her and the two formed a close bond.

That would be enough to make for an interesting documentary feature but director Jennifer Arnold also follows the efforts of an organisation set up by Chris to provide scholarships for able but financially poor students to attend high school. The lives of three young Kenyans as they struggle to pass the final exam against the backdrop of poverty and political upset as well as the threat of genocide provides another dimension to the film that means it is never less than captivating,

“A Small Act” has a simple message...the actions we take do have consequences and we can make a difference in the world.

Where’s that direct debit form?

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