Documentary 'When Home is the Street' Chronicles Hardships of Homeless Youth
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January 18, 2013

What makes children turn to the streets? How can street-connectedness be overcome? A project by CIESPI - The International Center for Research and Policy on Childhood (PUC-Rio University) and CODENI, with the support of Fetzer Institute, the 35 minutes documentary, directed by Thereza Jessouroun, tries to answer these questions with testimonies and daily life images of children and youth who grew up on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City. (whenhomeisthestreet)

Reintegrating street children and youth into society requires deep and consistent love and compassion, both to help them escape poverty and to allow them to let go of feelings that they are unloved and unwanted. A new film documents this delicate transformation through stories of young people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

The 35-minute documentary was funded by the Fetzer Institute in partnership with the International Center for the Study and Research on Children (CIESPI) at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and CODENI, a children's rights collective in Guadalajara, Mexico. Produced by award-winning Brazilian filmmaker Thereza Jessouroun "When Home Is the Street" makes its US debut with screenings at Boston College's Robsham Theater January 28 and at New York City's Helen Mills Theater January 29. Both screenings are free and open to the public and begin at 6:30 pm. More information on this effort and a trailer of the video can be found at this link.

"Brazil has many challenges in its education system," said Irene Rizzini, director of CIESPI. "One of the greatest concerns is providing education to vulnerable children and youth. Street children are most often outside any education system."

"This is a story about individuals and communities being compelled to profound acts of love," said Lawrence Sullivan, president and CEO of the Fetzer Institute. "It documents a powerful type of leadership-one driven by love for children ostracized by their societies. The Fetzer Institute believes that the work of CIESPI and CODENI helps add to our understanding of the preconditions necessary for compassion, love, and ultimately, elevated societies."

CODENI's Danielle Strickland believes that the film gives a voice to youth who are rarely heard. "We hear several voices in the film explain how they have often thought that they can make it on their own, but have come to realize that everyone needs a helping hand. When they see their self-worth reflected in the eyes of someone else, they regain a sense of purpose and begin to care and forgive themselves and those who have neglected and abandoned them."

The Fetzer Institute is a private operating foundation based in Kalamazoo, Michigan Established by broadcast pioneer John E. Fetzer (1901-1991), the Institute works with an international team of advisors to create programs that foster awareness of the power that love and forgiveness can have in our world.

SOURCE: Fetzer Institute

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