Children Of The Snowland (PG)
Children born in the high Himalayas are sent to school in Kathmandu and do not see their parents for twelve years. This gentle documentary follows three students who return to their villages to get to know their families and to consider the contrast in their old and new lives.
ZARA BALFOUR & MARCUS STEPHENSON│ NEPAL, UK│93 MINS│2018│PG
‘An incredibly inspiring story from the roof of the world where families struggle and sacrifice everything to help their children” Bear Grylls.
Snowland Ranag Light of Education school was founded in 2001 by Guru Ripoche. It supports Nepal’s poorest children from early childhood into their teens, giving them a home and the chance of a better life. We follow three of the students, Jeewan, Tsering Dexi and Nima as they trek through the mountains to see families they last saw or heard from ten to twelve years previously. We see fear, gratitude, humility and man living in appalling poverty against the incredible beauty of the Himalayas.
Zara Balfour and Marcus Stephenson were involved in fund raising in Nepal and heard about the school and on the smallest of budgets made this film that is awe inspiring and was life changing for both of them. One boy travelled alone, the two other children with the small film crew. Despite their passing Everest base camp in terms of altitude, the kids trekked in jeans with portable phones powered by solar power. They had no training, no equipment. Zara said there was so much that could not be filmed because of the danger they were in, when they had to ford icy rivers in full flood, when a donkey was slipping down towards Zara, when exhaustion meant they had no strength to lift an iphone. There were no satellite phones, no electricity, no medivac backup on the journeys, just plenty of memory sticks.
The schoolchildren are told they are lucky, but still feel abandoned. They are hurt but loved. How they change after returning home and understanding their histories is humbling and reveals the care they have received in Kathmandu. This is a coming of age story in the purest sense. Remember as you watch it that the mountain people are shy and may not show their feelings. These are real people whose children trusted the makers sufficiently to share the most intimate parts of their souls with us. The parents had no warning. You can find interviews with the children on You Tube where they talk about the film. To say more now would be to spoil their story.
Jeewan, Tsering Dexi and Nima were chosen because of their charisma, willingness to share and their sense of unity coming from their complete isolation from their families. Zara and Marcus interviewed them effectively by asking several of the children to tell their stories as part of a fund raising campaign. They presented themselves exceptionally well, but you got the impression that their grace was mirrored throughout the school as a whole, both staff and children.
On You Tube you will also find a similar documentary confusingly called ‘Children of Snowland’ about an orphanage in Nepal called the Golok Tadra. Do please take the time to watch it.
WE WILL BE COLLECTING MONEY FOR THE SNOWLAND JOURNEYS CHARITY ON THE NIGHT AND HERE IS THE JUSTGIVING SITE IF YOU WISH TO DONATE. http://www.localgiving.com/snowlandjourneys
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