It’s not everyday your school gets a visit from a movie star. But that’s what happened on a Saturday in Mathare, on the outskirts of Nairobi, at Heidemarie Primary School. Fifty girls, aged 9 to 19, watched JongoLove, the first movie filmed on a mobile phone in Kenya. Then they had a full and frank discussion with one of the stars of the show, Ann Mitu, about unplanned pregnancies, the dangers of back street abortions, contraceptives and healthy relationships.
Ann, 24, who herself grew up in Mathare and got pregnant at 19, plays a single mother in the film. She told The Times of London at the global premier, that the message of the movie is that you “can always use the things around you to better your own life”, which was why Well Told Story made the movie on a mobile phone. “I don’t want to see young mothers sitting at home moaning about how they came to get pregnant,” she said. “Of course, you could have done something different, but now that you are there what are you going to do about it?”
The girls were brought together by the Tushinde Children’s Trust, which seeks to empower and support children and young people in Mathare to realize their potential. This workshop is one of a series that Tushinde organizes for girls aged 9 years to 19 years living in Mathare and surrounding areas.
The charity supports children’s education and provides customized support to their families, to keep them in school and keep them in healthy environments.
“These girls relate to this movie because it addresses the issues that affect them,” said Sally Nduta, Development Manager at Tushinde Children’s Trust. “This movie helped the girls talk about with issues of irresponsible parents, alcoholism, drug abuse and other challenges that teenage mothers face.”
Well Told Story made the movie in order to encourage discussions just like this. It shows that, as well as over 175,000 views on YouTube, the movie is having an impact on the way people in Mathare and elsewhere, live, love and, you know… talk about the stuff that isn’t always easy to talk about. Because that’s the stuff that matters the most.