Community Cinema presents "Solar Mamas"

Community Cinema presents "Solar Mamas"

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

The sky's the limit for the female solar engineering students at India's Barefoot College.

Photo credit: Independent Television Service (ITVS)

WXXI is proud to host a new season of free screenings, featuring films from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series, Independent Lens. The screenings, held at the Little Theatre (240 East Avenue, Rochester, NY), will be followed by lively panel discussions to encourage dialogue and action around important and timely social issues. These events are free, open to the public, and reservations are not required.

Please join us Monday, November 26 at 7:00 p.m. for Solar Mamas. Rafea is 30 years old with four children and a husband who is eager to take a third wife. She is a Bedouin woman living in a small Jordanian village close to the desert. With encouragement from the country's Ministry of Environment, she leaves her village for the first time to go to the Barefoot College in India to train to become a solar-energy engineer. The Barefoot College in India was founded by Bunker Roy to provide knowledge and training to the rural poor to empower them to make their communities self-reliant and sustainable.

The solar course at Barefoot College has women from Kenya, Burkina Faso, Columbia, and Guatemala. And now Rafea from Jordan. She is the first Jordanian woman ever to attend such a program, and she dreams of returning to bring much-needed income and talents to support her family and village. But two months into the program, Rafea’s husband insists that she return home or he will divorce her and take her children. With no real choice in the matter, Rafea goes back to her village and sets out to persuade her husband and other family members that her studies in India benefit everyone. In her journey away from home, back, and then away once more, Rafea goes through a profound transformation, returning as an educated woman with the skills to earn an income and achieve for her community what others could not.

The film will be followed by a talkback. Panelists for the talkback include:

Kit Miller serves as the director of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. Her prior position was as director/celebrator of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication in Oakland, California. In part after coming to understand through meditation about violence within the human heart and mind, Kit began learning about and organizing for nonviolence for the last 18 years in many capacities. Kit is a certified permaculturist, which she experiences as an applied nonviolence practice. Kit co-leads retreats each year in California and at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, working with activists from around the world.  She has 3 children and is amazed and grateful to have been happily married for 20 years.

Sharon Murphy is Professor of Political Science and Director of the International Studies Program at Nazareth College. Her teaching and research interests include Middle East and African politics, U.S. foreign policy, and general international relations. She earned her B.A. from Daemen College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from University of Notre Dame.

Enid Cardinal is Senior Sustainability Advisor for RIT. Cardinal is a LEED-accredited professional with a background in socially responsible investing and environmental policy. Cardinal previously served as director of the Office of Sustainability at Illinois State University. She worked to infuse a culture of sustainability at ISU that included a reduction of office paper use, waste reduction and food scrap composting in dining services, installation of permeable parking surfaces, ride sharing and an assessment of hand-drying options. Prior to ISU, she held positions as an independent consultant, social analyst and a project controller. A native of Baldwinsville, N.Y., Cardinal earned a master¹s degree in environmental policy from Bard College and a bachelor¹s degree in biology and history from Binghamton University.

Watch the trailer here: