4 April 2013

Junction for having fun

Buy Lucy's book here and help restore sight

Avid readers will remember Mr Mustard telling them last year of a film showing of "A junction for having fun" which sold out quickly and so you may have missed your chance to see it back then. Never mind, you get another chance on Sunday April 14th at 5.30pm as part of the London Independent Film Festival (April 11 to 21) at the Shortwave cinema in Bermondsey.

About the film (49m):

A visiting doctor’s chance game of football with village girls gave birth to an an extra-ordinary scheme at an eye hospital in a forgotten corner of India’s poorest state.

British Ophthalmologist and fanatical footballer Lucy Mathen discovered that her love for the Beautiful Game was shared by Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital boss Mritunjay Tiwary and the impoverished girls of the village of Mastichak in Bihar.

Mathen and Tiwary also learned that the reason the girls disappeared off the pitch in their early teens was because they were married off by their families. Further investigation uncovered the fact that it was only because parents could not afford to pay secondary school fees that they pulled the girls out of education and married them to older men. These factors also meant that no women were applying for jobs at the eye hospital.

The Akhand Jyoti Football Academy came into being : to break this cycle of poverty, to build on the girls’ enthusiasm for football, to allow them to complete their schooling and to train to become the much-needed future employees of the rapidly expanding eye hospital. Girls from all religions,castes and creeds are part of the AJFA.

What neither Mathen or Tiwary anticipated, however, was just how quickly the footballers, once resident at the hospital, would transform not just themselves but the hospital and the entire village. Rallying behind them are a respected Hindu spiritual leader, the local Imam and sari-clad mothers dying to play themselves. And news has travelled all over Bihar of an eye hospital that is curing the blind, educating girls for future employment…and training up a formidable football team.

Three years ago there were no women working at the eye hospital; today 50% of staff and trainees are female. And a girl from the football academy was selected for the Indian national under 19s team. Tiwary hopes that one day the hospital will be run by a woman from a village in Bihar. Mathen hopes for more footballing ophthalmologists.

To add to your enjoyment there are two other short films as part of the programme:

The documentary Motorbike Midwife (25m) which tracks the Herculean efforts of a fearless nurse, Linda Mba as she rides a motorbike across remote parts of Ghana to save mothers' and babies' lives. With painful births come great personal joys for all, plagued by medical complications, poor facilities and dangerous roads.

and just to complete a varied afternoon's entertainment is a 10m film "One Night"

One Night is a bittersweet romance where the neurotic heroine Simone meets the man of her dreams, Jack, spends the night with him and then refuses to give him her number.

If you can't make the film, or even if you can, please help my friend Lucy to fix people's sight by buying her book or simply sending her a large (medium or small) cheque. Donations are not used for salaries, administration or office costs so 100% of what you give, plus Gift Aid, can be used to help the blind.

Thank you.

Mr Mustard

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