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January 2, 2019

UN Women Documentary Video Sheds Light On Myanmar Refugee Crisis

We use videos to educate, to entertain and to engage. But what if a video could help shine a light on a crisis impacting hundreds of thousands of lives?

That was the question posed by the Singapore Committee for UN Women – to help raise awareness around the ongoing refugee crisis which saw nearly 700,000 people fleeing their homes and persecution in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar (Burma) for neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017.  

Many of the men, women and child are residing in tents, with little to no access to toilets and basic amenities.  

To help bring awareness to this issue, Click2View produced pro bono, a documentary-style film in support of the Singapore Committee for UN Women’s fundraising efforts to build safe spaces for women and girls in refugee camps across Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Georgette Tan, President of the Singapore Committee for UN Women, stressed the crucial need for action and help. “More than half of refugees in Cox’s Bazar are women and girls. Every day, they face the threat of violence and abuse in the camps,” she said. “With the establishment of safe spaces in camps, they can begin to heal from the traumas they have suffered and begin to rebuild their lives.”

The film tells the stories of the brave women living in the camps. But instead of portraying them as victims, the goal of the video was to share how they were overcoming adversity to empower themselves and others in the camp.

The video centres upon two inspirational women: Hasina and Hazera.

Hazera, (25) a mother of three, fled Burma after the military burnt down her house. During the ten day journey to Bangladesh, the military beat her husband while they tried to flee the country and the whole family didn’t consume any food in seven days.  

Now in Bangladesh, she completed a tailoring course from the Multi-Purpose Women’s Centre run by UN Women and ActionAid. She hopes to earn more money using her tailoring skills.

“As journalists and filmmakers, we saw there was a story that needed to be told to assist UN Women to achieve their goals of building a series of women’s centres in the camps,” said Tariq Hawari, content director at Click2View.

The Click2View team travelled through the refugee camp where they interviewed the women and documented their stories.  

The video was to debut at the Singapore Committee for UN Women’s SNOW (Say No to the Oppression of Women) Gala, which aimed to raise funds to help those in the camp.

There was little time as the gala is the committee’s main fundraising event. Click2View filmed on that Monday and the film was aired at the gala on Friday.

As the film was played out in the ballroom at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa the room quietened to a whisper as everyone watched. Afterwards everyone present was asked to make a special donation by raising their paddle. The result exceeded every expectation and after the donations were tallied it emerged there was a 120 per cent increase in the number of donations at this part of the evening, compared to the previous year.

“We are grateful to Click2View for helping us tell the story of the reality on the ground to convince people to help,” said Ms Tan.

“This really shows the power of telling simple stories that go to the heart of the human experience,” said Click2View CEO Simon Kearney.

Tariq Hawari is the Content Director at Click2View

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