Resilience is a series of four short films from Nepal and the Philippines focusing on the stories of women and girls. Sonia Narang’s series takes viewers inside the everyday lives of women who often have little voice in this world – a mother of seven children in the slums of Manila; a pregnant woman in a rural mountain village in Nepal; a volunteer health worker who delivers life-saving medicines in the remote hills of Nepal; and a young girl worshipped as a child goddess in Kathmandu.
Sonia’s work screened at the Center for Asian American Media & Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) film event in San Francisco on August 12, 2015. She originally produced these stories for PRI’s The World, BBC News Magazine, and GlobalPost’s GroundTruth Project.
In the Philippines, change is underway this year as the government rolls out a new reproductive health law nationwide, making birth control free to all who need it. Sonia’s piece follows Ruzel Delovino, a young mother of seven who couldn’t access necessary family planning services. For more: Philippines embraces free birth control despite opposition from Catholic Church
Access to maternal and reproductive health care is one of the biggest challenges for women in developing countries, especially in disaster zones. Hard-to-reach mountain communities in rural Nepal, like the villages Sonia visited while filming in 2013, remain cut off from much-needed resources in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Januka’s Hard Labor
Januka Rasaeli is seven months pregnant and spends much of her day toiling in the fields. She lives in a rural village in Nepal, where women are expected to perform strenuous chores all day long. She worries her manual work may put her baby at risk. For more: In Nepal, the manual labor doesn’t stop for expectant mothers.
Bimala Parajuli is a volunteer health worker in rural Nepal. She treks long distances in her mountainous district to deliver an inexpensive antiseptic ointment to expectant mothers. As many as a quarter of newborn deaths could be prevented with the use of this medicine, chlorhexidine. The challenge is getting it to the women who need it in time. For more: An ointment could save up to half a million newborns a year – and it costs 20 cents
Life of a Child Goddess
In Nepal, the centuries-old tradition of choosing a young girl as a goddess continues to this day. She is worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists who believe she is a reincarnated goddess. For more: A few months ago this Nepali girl was a goddess, now she’s a seventh grader