This Friday, September 7th, sees the first showing of ‘Short Steps’, an hour-long feature by Louise and Michal S. Joachimowski…
It follows an “English woman who comes to the Philippines to work with children from the slums, and creates a children’s choir. During their two and half years together, she takes the children on the journey of a lifetime. Through music, these fourteen children share their life stories, but these stories are not just about themselves. They represent millions of people across the Philippines who live in very difficult conditions. These kids, that now have a voice, share hope for the better future with thousands of others.”
The children involved in the movie are part of the International Care Ministries sustainable development project in the Philippines.
Doors open at 6:30pm for the 7pm showing at The Vine Centre, 29 Burrows Street, Wan Chai (bus routes). Entry is free – for reservations email: [email protected]
ICM is a fantastic example of a grassroots sustainable development NGO. It is based in Hong Kong and, although a Christian charity, it does not proselytize.
1.4 billion people around the world live on less than US$1.25 per day with The Philippines ranking as the 12th most populated country in the world. There are more than 94 million Filipinos, with 25 million of them living in poverty on less than US$0.75 per day. 10 million Filipinos live in subsistence poverty, on less than US$0.54 per day, which is only enough money to pay for basic food.
ICM serves the poorest of the poor – people living below subsistence in Central and Southern Philippines. Between 2009 and 2012 ICM reached out to 210,532 people. Out of those, 14 of them became the ICM Children’s Choir.
Families that enter ICM’s programs are living in extreme poverty:
- US$0.37 is the average daily income of the participants
- 58% do nothing to purify their drinking water
- 34% live with dirt floors and scrap roofs
- 34% go to bed hungry at least once a week
- 25% of mothers have had at least one child die
- 8% of mothers have had more than one child die
After four months of ICM’s Values, Health and Livelihood [VHL] training:
- 42% drop in physical abuse
- 26% reduction in serious illnesses
- 33% income increase
- 29% fewer go to bed hungry
- 46% reduction in underweight children
In 2009, Louise and Micha? were planning to shoot a documentary about the Philippines and its people. At the time they were living in Sydney, Australia but they were looking for new challenges. On the way to this tropical country, they stopped in Hong Kong and met with the chairman of International Care Ministries, a charity that works with the poorest of the poor in the Philippines, and they adjusted their plans, as they had been asked if they would like to create a children’s choir. During the five months that they spent in Bacolod City they worked on their own projects, shooting short films and documentaries, as well as working with fourteen children from the slums and rural villages.
They didn’t know what the outcome would be, but as Micha?’s new camera was constantly rolling, they collected tons of footage from their trip. One day he started to put the footage together, and realised that they had experienced and captured something that they couldn’t have planned better. Now, after two and a half years, the film is finished, and ready to be shared, even though the story continues. And who knows, maybe there is room for “take II” in the future 🙂
See also: ICM’s Bankers & Lawyers on Detention.