Maisha Film

Karibu! Here, we have all the information about our 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.

In the Spring 2015, our filmmakers were granted unprecedented access to the artisanal pit mines around Kolwezi, located in the DRC's mineral-rich ex-Katanga region. This little known part of the world powers our digital age, giving us the raw materials for mobile phones, computers and the long-life batteries. There they found an appalling level of human misery and exploitation. They also found a powerful grassroots project run by the Good Shepherd Sisters that is helping the most at-risk by building an alternative to the mines.

This program opened an informal school for over 1,100 ex-child miners, established a cooperative farm to provide food security for hundreds of families and offered about 600 girls and women from artisanal mining communities training in tailoring and catering/food production for alternative livelihood and access to dignified jobs out of the mines.


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 build a better, more sustainable tomorrow, and in turn laying waste to the cycle of poverty, exploitation and abuse that traps so many here.

Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines was filmed and written by journalists/film producers Luca Paradiso and Bernhard Warner  in Kolwezi -- in Lualaba province of the DRC -- in April/May, 2015. Post-production was overseen by Giampaolo Bisegna in Rome.


Special Award - Best Ethnografic Film - Vaasa Festival 2016, Finland (Sept 28 - Oct 2)

Best Documentary Short Film Award - Human Rights Film FestivalBarcelona (December 2016)

2017 Film Festival Screenings:

Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival - Kathmandu (March 17-19)

5th International Children's Rights Film Festival - Bursa/Turkey (May 13-30)

Sunlight International Film Festival - Moscow, (October 25-26) 

2016 Film Festival Screenings:

Human District Film Festival in Belgrade (June 25)

Social Machinery Film Festival, Mantova, Italy (July 28-30)

The 14° FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL SIGNOS DE LA NOCHE in Quito, Ecuador (August 29 - September 3, 2016)

Vaasa Festival 2016 in Vaasa, Finland (Sept 28th - Oct 2nd)

14° Festival internacional Signos da Noite Lisboa, Lisbon (Oct 1-9, 2016)

Human Rights Film Festival of Barcelona/NYC/Paris in November/December, 2016.

The debut film screening was in Rome on 29 October, 2015. It was followed by a round-table discussion on the perils of the Congolese artisanal mining sector and the limitations of current legislation to curb the flow of conflict minerals into the development of products that we all use. In February, 2016, we screened Maisha at the United Nations during the 54th Session of the UN Commission on Social Development.

If you'd like to have us schedule a screening in your city, please send a note to


If you want to support the program, your donation will be an opportunity to greatly improve the lives of hundreds of children, women and their families. Please note that 100% of donations go to fund the Good Shepherd Kolwezi project featured in the film, to help pay for hot school meals, materials for the classroom and support other activities to break the cycle of poverty and abuse against children, girls and women in the artisanal mining communities. Thank you for all the support we've received to date. Asante sana! 

For further information about the living conditions of children and women in artisanal mining communities and the GS program in DRC please visit

Learn the key results of the GS program: Building Hope Justice and Peace in DR Congo



Maisha film trailer