Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sixteen Decisions

Old Chatham Quaker Meeting is showing “Sixteen Decisions ” Monday, August 7, at 8:00 PM, Powell House Quaker Conference and Retreat Center, 524 Pitt Hall Road off County Route 13, Old Chatham, New York.
“Sixteen Decisions” is a documentary about women in rural Bangladesh. We meet Selina, 18, and mother of two children; Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank; and Gayle Ferraro, filmmaker. Their combined presence and voices reveal a reality of past and present pain, uplifting goals, and the need for resources to move forward.

The real power of "Sixteen Decisions’’" is in the depiction of Selina’’s everyday life. Selina, 18, is like most rural Bangladeshi housewives. She was a child laborer at 7 because her parents were too poor to feed her. Her parents arranged her marriage at 12 and sold their land for dowry, leaving themselves as beggars when her father lost his eyesight. Selina’’s family is not unique. We learn that with a $60 loan Selina has a rickshaw business——and hopes. She reflects on key issues such as dowry, birth control, education, and housing and relates the path her life has taken to what she hopes to learn to provide for her two young children.

Dr. Yunus, founder and president of the 22-year old Grameen Bank, with the experience of loaning $2.3B to 10 million women, acts as annotator for the film describing the need, evolution, impact and hope for women and society through the ‘‘16 decisions.’’

The film shows the effects of a society that practically considers women as property and forbids them to speak or move their bodies in public. Using the courage the women show even leaving their houses, Ferraro builds the story to subtly suggest the viewer look more deeply at their own unexamined views and find meaningful challenges in their lives as well. With Selina and the women of Bangladesh as inspiration, it isn’t hard to do.

Free and open to the public, light refreshments and a discussion will follow and for more information call 518-794-0259.

For directions go here.