SkyFilms Inc | Stories in Development
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Stories in Development

She Rises Up will profile several women in countries around the world who are lifting themselves out of poverty. These women will not be filmed over a weekend, but will be filmed over many months so we can truly understand their circumstances and successes. We will come to know these women–their dreams and ambitions, hopes for their children, and challenges they’ve faced. We will laugh with them, and cheer with them when they succeed. In many cases, we will come to know the local activists who have worked hard to remove the economic obstacles in the way of these women–obstacles many in the Western world may not even have thought of, obstacles unique to the local region or culture.

At this time, our locations and stories are currently being researched.  Below are just a few examples of the stories we’re exploring:

ASIA

Small, incremental change can have a big impact.

Kandy village school – discussion with teachers regarding challenges girls in the school are facing
Kandy village school – discussion with teachers regarding challenges girls in the school are facing

In many regions of Sri Lanka, parents are often unwilling or unable to send their daughters to school when they have their menstrual cycles because they cannot afford basic feminine hygiene products. For girls from low-income families, this reduced access to education can have a lifelong impact. With increased attention and advocacy on this issue in the last few years by local organizations, social entrepreneurs, and now politicians, the momentum of positive change is tangible.

Organizations in Sri Lanka have worked to target the source of these issues, advocating for the reduction or relief from high tariffs that disproportionately affect women. We will follow the incredible women at the forefront of one organization that work directly with state and local governments, championing a reduction in tariffs on such products. We’ll come to know other leaders in private industry who shifted their company vision and strategy to develop a reusable pad that is affordable to all, taking on the issue of education around women’s health and the impact it can have in the workplace.

We will also meet a young high school girl in a rural village who may still be adjusting to the new reality of her body, but is able to attend school every day now that she has access to affordable feminine hygiene products. Through the journey of this young girl and her family, we will come to see how an education gives hope for a path of greater opportunity than was available to her parents.

Through experiencing the lives of these women, we see the power incremental change can have–the cumulative effect of one small change, then another, then another ultimately leading to greater work opportunities for women and a reversal in the tide of poverty.

Producing affordable reusable pads
Producing affordable reusable pads
AFRICA
SkinIsSkin factory exterior in Meckhe, Senegal
SkinIsSkin factory exterior in Meckhe, Senegal
Two employees finishing lip balm in the factory clean room
Employees finishing lip balm in the factory clean room

Entrepreneurship in Senegal comes with many economic obstacles.

For those who can get a basic education, there are very few jobs and business investment opportunities. For business owners, finding experienced employees in a particular field can be even more challenging with little infrastructure to support professional development throughout the country. And when it comes to manufacturing, even tariffs on products like cardboard—which are currently at 45%—raise production costs significantly.

We will meet a Senegalese entrepreneur dealing with these obstacles first-hand, who believes it is essential for her country to remove these obstacles so it can grow economically, which in turn could offer more work opportunities for women. She has personally seen the failures of many foreign aid programs in Senegal that leave the country without a lasting infrastructure for success.

As she works to provide opportunity to foster business development in Senegal, she lifts the women that surround her. She employs several women from the community who never dreamed they would have the opportunity to have work outside of the home–not due to the lack of education, but the lack of available jobs. We will get to know these women, the hopes they have for the future and the opportunities they see, or don’t see, in Senegal for their own daughters.

We will join these strong women as they build a new business in Senegal that currently exports its products to the United States, selling to stores such as Whole Foods. We will experience the daily lives of these workers who are, themselves, on new paths in life.

LATIN AMERICA

It takes a lot of time and money to create a formal business in many South American countries.

Filming in the outskirts of Lima, Peru
Filming in the outskirts of Lima, Peru

It is almost impossible to have easy access to work space without experiencing harassment or bias. And often, there is a heavy burden of regulations and excessive permit fees. Today, the burden of inflation is also emerging in Peru, leaving many small business-owners to face uncertainty in securing their bottom line.

Around 70% of micro and small sized businesses are incubated by women. While many of these entrepreneurs face additional obstacles because of their gender, they nonetheless succeed. We will meet one of these women, Gladys, who has pushed through social and economic barriers to lift herself to economic success.

She comes from very humble beginnings in an Andean mountain village, steeped in poverty, to having her daughter become the first in her family to gain a college education. Starting as a street vendor, she grew the business into a thriving bodega. Her daughter now envisions building a chain of stores with the goal of becoming the first Peruvian-owned grocery chain. We will see the opening of the second bodega, which begins the expansion process. And it is not only the entrepreneurs who benefit from this growth. Jobs are then created for many other women who can begin their own path to economic independence.

But nothing is simple. The mother-daughter team see some things in different ways. How can they not? Their early-life experiences have been so different in many ways. We will see them work to resolve these contrasting perspectives, each with its own validity.

Gladys and her brother perform a traditional indigenous dance at the grand opening of her second store
Gladys and her brother perform a traditional indigenous dance at the grand opening of her second store

 

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