A familiar stench diffuses through the town of Cashma Goth every morning. A remote and impoverished fishing community off the coast of Karachi, Pakistan, the locals have grown insensitive to the unique whiff of carbon fuel and rotting fish that has come to define the village. As the catch of the day is transported, colorful and boisterous pickups make their way through the dirt-laden roads, inadvertently sprinkling mangled fish carcasses throughout the nameless neighborhoods. The swarms of flies that conjure as a result are what caused 11-year old Humera to start sleeping with a cloth on her face. A preemptive safeguard, she explains, against the flies that would otherwise tickle her nose all night.
Fatherless, one of seven and the first in her family to study beyond the second grade, Humera often walks to school barefoot. She insists that she always takes caution to avoid the stains. Oblong, speckled and textured brick-colored stains of saliva blemish every square-inch of the streets, a testament to the chewing tobacco dependence rampant in her community. Addiction in her own family is what motivated her desire to be different.
"I want to be a doctor to help the poor", she says.
But the odds are steeply stacked against her. With no male figure in the household, the burden of financially supporting the family will soon be on her shoulders. As she watches her 14-year old sister marry a man over a decade older, she makes a determination about her own future.
“I’m never getting married”, she exclaims. “Marriage is an utter destruction!”
But the pressure to uphold tradition looms in her conscience. When the only school system in the community comes under financial duress, Humera’s mother is asked to contribute financially to her daughter’s education, a request she outright refuses. With the school under threat of closure, Humera’s mother insists that she, too, forego her education for an arranged marriage.
A DESTRUCTION follows the trajectory of Humera's life as it reaches a critical point: when she must maintain the determination to stay in school or risk falling prey to the cycle of poverty.
Director / Producer
Urooj Yazdani holds an M.D. from the Chicago Medical School and an M.Ed. from the Johns Hopkins University. She has extensive research experience in the correlation between trauma and the socioeconomic circumstances that prevent women from attaining basic education in the developing world.
Shimashi Dammalage is a Chicago-native filmmaker. She is currently finishing her last quarter to earn her BFA in Film and T.V. at DePaul University. She directs her own shorts, documentaries, and music videos throughout the city. Through her work, she aims to shed light onto issues of racism, sexism, and classism around the world.
Gillian Hadding is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Film and Television with a concentration in create producing from DePaul University. She believes that Film and TV are powerful mediums that have the influence to shape the world. She intends to become a TV producer, focusing on social justice and female empowerment on and off the screen.
Elisa Maravilla is a senior at DePaul University working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Television. She has worked on fiction and documentary projects throughout her four undergraduate years. Last December, Elisa began shooting a documentary about her mother's journey through the U.S. foster care system. She is involved in activities such as the DePaul Documentary Film Club. Elisa is interested in creating films focused around the Latinx community and using storytelling as a way to voice the opinions of the people.
Rita Dennin is an Interdisciplinary Documentary student at Columbia College Chicago, aspiring to pursue a career in documentary film producing. She is motivated to address social issues for marginalized groups and make a positive impact for communities. She hopes to share more stories about women and people of color to help create more empathy and solidarity amongst audiences.
Ayesha Nasir is an undergraduate biology/pre-med student at the University of Louisville. She aspires to pursue a career immersed in medicine as well as social policy with a desire to become involved in the World Health Organization (WHO). She is passionate about equal representation and opportunity for all women, with an aim to stand up for girls who are overlooked in favor of their male counterparts.
Jessica Lisy is an undergraduate student at DePaul University. She is pursuing a BFA in Film and Television with a minor in Documentary Production and a minor in Sociology. She has a passion for service that benefits communities in need. Her work explores themes that are prevalent in women's experiences and her goal is to create media that advocates for injustice.
Taylor Peterson is a freshman at DePaul University, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Film and Television with a concentration in Cinematography. She is passionate about inclusion, diversity, and equal opportunity for people of all backgrounds in the entertainment industry. As she continues her journey at DePaul, she aims to both find her niche within the film industry and build a platform to utilize her work to shed light on equal opportunity and empowerment for every voice.
Omar Nabuls is a Chicago-based director of photography and an Alum of the Columbia College Chicago film program, the biggest film program in the world.
Over the years, he has lensed a wide variety of projects, including documentary, corporate, commercials, sports, and portraits.
Anya Kalfus is an undergraduate student at DePaul University. She is majoring in film with a concentration in cinematography and is minoring in documentary production and digital marketing. She is passionate about making the world a better place one story at a time. She aspires to share life experiences that need to be told as well as learn about how we can make a difference in equality for women around the world.
Post Screening Engagement
Sarah Agolia is an undergraduate film student at DePaul University. She has a passion for community-based storytelling, with a focus on freelance outreach. She aspires to learn more about how the power of film can leverage educational initiatives for marginalized communities all over the world.
Content Creation & Strategic Communications
Jean Ho is currently pursuing a BFA in Cinematography at DePaul University, Chicago. She has a passion for creating social media-oriented content and short films, and aspires to delve further into documentary and feature-length filmmaking. With an additional four years' worth of Model United Nations experience, she also strives to bring awareness to humanitarian issues across the globe, including the right for all genders and communities around the world to have access to proper education.
Fundraising & Legislation
Erica Long is pursuing an undergraduate degree at DePaul University, majoring in Film and Television with a concentration in Cinematography with two minors in Photography and Documentary Production. She is passionate about being the voice for those who are unheard by telling their stories to the world. She has a desire to bring equal opportunity to all communities, races, and genders so that everyone has access to education and resources. Through her love of film, she hopes to learn how she can make a difference.
Fundraising & Legislation
Sarah Anderson is an undergraduate film student in her final quarter at Depaul University. She intends to become a film professor that curates a curriculum that facilitates minority voices and political theory. Her goal is to continue making documentaries and share that passion with the next generation of students, so they may see the impact media has on the world as well as the importance of accessible education.
Fundraising & Legislation
Maya Boustany is an undergraduate at DePaul University in Chicago. She is pursuing her BFA in Documentary. She believes the best way to tell a story is through the lens of a camera. Her passions include making short documentaries and experimental films, and she hopes to make a feature-length documentary in the future.
Research & Publication
Sydney Sullivan is a filmmaker, motion graphics artist, and community organizer from Chicago, Illinois. She holds a degree in film and digital media production from Loyola University Chicago. She has worked professionally in a variety of facets of filmmakingsuch as art direction, editing, and cinematography. Her most recent work explores the stories of women and queer people, and she hopes to capture future narratives that share that experience. She is always looking to lend her skills to amplify the voices ofmarginalized people.
Zoaib Mirza is an award-winning administrator with over 20 years of experience in learning and development, and an adjunct faculty (K-12, Undergraduate and Graduate) over 15 years working with not-for-profit, for-profit, and ivy league academic institutions. He recently launched an educational initiative on YouTube titled "PromoteEducation". Zoaib is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Education from DePaul University and serves as the director of instructional design at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Learn about our campaign to keep audiences invested in Humera's story.
Stay informed about about the Keeping Girls in School Act as it passes through the Senate.
TFI Network presented by AT&T is a filmmaker / industry market hosted each year during the Tribeca Film Festival ® by TFI. These market meetings provide an opportunity for filmmakers to meet and make valuable connections with industry executives, financiers, producers, marketers, and other key parties who can potentially help their projects
This film was created with the support of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, one of nine academic divisions of the Johns Hopkins University. Ranked first in the nation among graduate schools of education by U.S. News & World Report, the school is working to transform the nation’s educational system through an interdisciplinary approach that combines research and evidence-based models of instruction.
Kartemquin is internationally recognized for crafting quality documentaries backed by innovative community engagement. The organization's films have received three Academy Award® nominations and won several major prizes, including five Emmys, two Peabody Awards, multiple Independent Spirit, IDA, PGA and DGA awards, and duPont-Columbia and Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards.
Diverse Voices in Docs is a professional development and mentorship program for documentary makers of color, organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. At the core of the fellowship are six engaging three-hour workshops with creative advice provided by Kartemquin Films’ world-class staff and associates.
Indus Resource Centre (IRC) is a Non Government Organization with physical presence and active projects in more than 9 districts of Sindh, Pakistan. The IRC works on the issues such as education, literacy, sustainable livelihoods, governance, democracy, human rights and disaster relief.
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CALL TO ACTION
The Indus Resource Center school system, where Humera receives her education, relies almost exclusively on donations to stay running. Many of the staff even volunteer time when possible without being paid, simply because they are committed to providing children with education in order to ensure they have a future. To help keep schools in this part of the world running, we have partnered with the Sonia Shah Organization to raise funds that ensure young girls like Humera have a future. Check out the video below to learn more about the Sonia Shah Organization and their impact on the world, and consider making a donation.
For more information about the Sonia Shah Organization, please call 1(312)-479-2458.