“Hope is like a path in the countryside. Originally, there is nothing-but as people walk this way again and again, a path appears.”- Quote from Lu Xun a Chinese essayist, 1921
Tonight the first of three episodes of the documentary A Path Appears, executive produced and directed by Maro Chermayeff, will air on PBS. The film is based on the book by the same name written by Pulitzer prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and follows their reporting on issues around the world that highlight gender inequalities, and vulnerabilities that perpetuate cycles of poverty. The journalists and celebrity activists Malin Akerman, Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, Jennifer Garner, Regina Hall, Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, and Alfre Woodard highlight the issues and the hopeful stories of solutions being put into action. We are given an inside look at the harsh realities of human trafficking, abuse and neglect that marginalize a segment of the population, and are introduced to some of the innovators, and the change makers who lead the way in showing us just how determination and intervention can transform lives.
Last week I was invited by World Moms Blog founder Jennifer Burden and Save The Children to attend a screening of A Path Appears followed by a discussion panel with Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn, Actress Malin Ackerman, Director Maro Chermayeff and President and CEO of Save The Children, Carolyn Miles at the New York Historical Society in New York City.
L to R: Polly Palumbo, Jennifer Burden, Elizabeth Atalay, Tanya Weinberg , and Kyla P’an
It is eye-opening and tough to watch some of the realities played out in these episodes, but at the same time so important for viewers to gain better understanding of the issues. Many have the general perception that a prostitute has chosen their way of life, when in reality many are trapped by pimps or in human trafficking rings with no way out. In the film, early sexual abuse of several of the subjects led to their life on the streets without them ever having known a protector to help them identify as a victim and empower them to get help, and make different choices.
Approximately 15% of men in the Unite States of America purchase sex, and few are ever prosecuted. The film highlights a solution that focuses on the demand side of the multi-billion dollar trafficking industry, knowing that making the risk higher would reduce the demand that keeps young girls entrapped in a vicious cycle of being trafficked.
The second episode airs next Monday, Feb. 2 at 10 pm EST on PBS and it entitled “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. Save The Children’s early education program is featured in this episode as Nicholas Kristof travels to West Virginia with Save the Children’s Artist Ambassador Jennifer Garner. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Garner on this issue of early childhood education as part of the #FindTheWords campaign last October and was amazed to learn that by the age of three many children living in poverty will have heard an average of 30 million fewer words than their peers, putting them behind before they even begin school. Sponsors help fund the important home visits that children like these receive from Save The Children to give them that chance to succeed that every child deserves.
At the event the other night we met one of the stars of the third episode that will air on February 9th, Jessica Posner Odede, who with her husband Kennedy Odede, who grew up in Kibera, the largest urban slum on the African continent, founded Shining Hope For Communities, and with that the Kibera School For Girls.
Educating a girl in urban slums means she will earn more and invest 90% of earnings in her family, be three times less likely to contract HIV, and have fewer, healthier children who are more likely to reach adulthood.-SHOFCO.org
After watching A Path Appears you will not only be more informed on these global issues that impact all of our communities on some level, but have hope, that if enough people led the path of change for the better, and the rest of us follow, that in fact a path to solutions to ending poverty will in fact appear.
Watch A Path Appears tonight 10pm Eastern Standard Time on PBS