Jaha’s Promise (2018), director Patrick Farrelly, Kate O’Callaghan, 1h 20m
PASSION FOR FREEDOM FILM AWARDS NOMINEES
Jaha’s Promise is the story of a young woman who returns home to the Gambia in West Africa to try to end the brutal practices that almost destroyed her life. Jaha Dukureh was subject to female genital mutilation (FGM) as a baby, and when she was 15 was taken to New York City to marry a middle-aged man she’d never met before.
A decade later, having escaped the forced marriage, she went home organized a campaign that resulted in Female Genital Mutilation being banned. This film constructs Jaha’s life story from her testimony, family archives and witnesses, and centers on her life’s narrative of setback and success.
FGM, is repellent to most people. We view the women subjected to it as victims. But Jaha is not a victim and she doesn’t want our sympathy. She demands respect for the rights of girls no matter what society they live in. Jaha’s Promise captures her story and her spirit.
Jaha’s Promise had its world premiere at Copenhagen DOX in 2017. It won the audience award at the Dublin Documentary Festival and was honored with the Activist Award at Movies that Matter in the Hague in the Netherlands. Jaha’s Promise has been screened for activists in countries across Africa and there are plans to distribute it widely in countries where FGM and child marriage are prevalent.
Earlier this year Jaha was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by a member of the Norwegian parliament, Jette Christensen. Jaha was honored by Time Magazine as one of their 100 Most Influential. In 2018 UN Women named Jaha as their first Ambassador to Africa.
Earlier this year Jaha launched the Big Sisters, a movement of young women activists from over a dozen African countries dedicated to eliminating FGM and child marriage.