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.
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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 IRC 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. With such low funding, teachers can only stay staffed for so long before they need to move elsewhere to find paid work. This is a fundraiser setup to help provide financial support for the IRC in order to help them stay staffed and provide an education to the kids of Sindh province, Pakistan. Since the dollar is so strong as compared to the Pakistani Rupee, a single $3.50 donation will pay for the entire monthly electric bill for one of the schools run by the IRC. Our fundraising goal is $1000, because reaching that amount will pay for all IRC affiliated schools and their related expenses, including teacher salaries and maintenance, for an entire year.