On 29 October, we will debut our work on a special project, an important documentary film, Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines. It takes you inside the copper and cobalt mines of Democratic Republic of the Congo, the first rung of the global supply chain of “digital minerals” that is trapping millions in poverty.
This spring, our filmmakers were granted unprecedented access to the artisanal pit mines around Kolwezi, located in the DRC's mineral-rich Katanga region. This little known part of the world powers our digital age, giving us the raw materials for mobile phones, computers and the electric grid. There they found an appalling level of human misery and exploitation, but also a powerful grassroots project run by the Good Shepherd Sisters that is helping the most at-risk by building an alternative to the mines - a school for ex-child miners, and a cooperative farm and a budding clothing design enterprise for former miners.
The 30-minute film, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, offers a rare, up-close look inside the harsh -- and even lethal -- world of artisanal copper and cobalt mining. The film shares a hopeful message as well, showing how an impoverished Congolese community is beating the odds to to build a better, more sustainable tomorrow, and in turn laying waste to the cycle of poverty, exploitation and abuse that traps so many here. We invite you our friends, our supporters, and our generous donor community to attend the screening on 29 October at 4:00 p.m. at Radio Vaticana, Sala Marconi, Piazza Pia 3, 00193 Rome.
The screening will be followed by a round-table discussion involving experts on sustainable development, social activism, the DRC's mining industry and African foreign policy to discuss how to transform Africa's mineral riches from a curse to a path to a better future. Below is the program.
4:00 Welcome and introduction by Kenneth F. Hackett, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Sr. Eliene Barros, President of the Good Shepherd International Foundation, and Bernhard Warner, journalist and co-author of “Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines”
4:30 Screening of documentary: “Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines”
5:00 Roundtable on “An ounce of exploitation in our pockets.”
Bernhard Warner - journalist and documentary filmmaker
Hon. Lia Quartapelle – Member of Italian Parliament and Secretary of the International Affairs Commission at the Italian Chamber of Deputies
Frédéric Triest – Deputy executive secretary of EurAc (European Network for Central Africa), expert of conflict minerals
Attilio Ascani – Director of FOCSIV (Federation of International Catholic Volunteer Organisations) and member of CIDSE (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity)
Prof. Maurizio Franzini – Full Professor of Economic Policy at Università “La Sapienza” of Rome and expert of global inequalities
Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines was filmed by journalists/film producers Bernhard Warner and Luca Paradiso in April/May, 2015. For more information, contact us here.