Hope North

April 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

The principal reason that I enjoy The Thing That Happened is that, in contrast to my critique of other docu-films set in developing communities, this film is narrated by the community members themselves–not by foreigners. The Ugandans are not backdrop to an English or American accent in this 20 minute tale– they are the narrators, the subjects and the initiators of the movement. A very rare combination in developing country docu-film.

Beyond this egalitarian production, however, I also admire The Thing That Happened because it constructs a narrative that is clear, sharp and modern. The original scores are matched by professional footage in such a way that even those only used to watching only HBO in HD can be entertained–and, simultaneously informed. Take another 20 minutes to watch this film and judge for yourself.

Okello Sam is a well-known Ugandan dance and theater artist whose family was directly affected by the war in the north. He and his brother Godfrey were abducted, and Godfrey was eventually killed by rebels. Okello Sam went on to found Hope North. Hope North is a 40-acre campus in northern Uganda where refugees, orphans and former child soldiers find a place to call home. It is a living and learning community with an accredited secondary school, vocational training center (carpentry, food production, tailoring, and programs in arts, music, dance and sports) and full time Ugandan staff of fifteen.

With abundant acreage and a new tractor, Hope North plans to expand into commercial agriculture for both internal food consumption and revenue generation. In addition, arts, music and dance based in Acholi tradition are an integral part of Hope North’s culture, and the basis for healing the war’s many emotional wounds.

The school now has 210 students from ages 2-22. Hope North is seeking funding to expand capacity of the school to 250 students.

You can become a Hope North Mentor (re-occurring monthly donations) or make a one-time donation. Click here to donate.


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