The ‘MODERN DAY HEROINES’ of our story are based on the lives and stories of real young women around the world who are currently engaged in a present day struggle to achieve emancipation and equality.
When I began researching the lives of contemporary young women around the world who are taking action to prevent inequality, suffering, violence and limitation in the lives of women, I found hundreds of examples of young woman taking action with kindness, strength, determination and perseverance to change the world around them.
Young women like: Amal Azzudin campaigning for the rights of refugees, Malala Yousafzai and Sonita Alizadeh bringing our attention to the experiences of child brides, Nice Leng’ete and Jaha Dukureh whose actions have bought an end to FGM in their cultures of origin, Ellen Chilemba and Nishiki Maredia who are as passionate that their enterprise’s are financially successful as that they benefit society, Li Maizi and Loujain Al-Hathloul both detained after peacefully demonstrating for women’s rights in their countries, Freshta Ibrahami who with her team set a new altitude record for Afghan Women in 2017 when climbing to promote freedom and new goals for women in Afghanistan.
It is these real young women’s lives (and the lives of the many others who act with them) that have provided the inspiration for the modern storyline of two sisters whose struggles provide a contemporary echo to the obstacles and challenges which Mandeok faced and overcame.
The MDH, scene by scene…
SWALLOW – One of the ‘Kotjebe’, our ‘Wandering Swallow’ is a young street orphan who is attempting to travel a circuitous refugee route with her sister.
Women and girls represent half of the world’s refugees and migrants. Displaced females face a disproportionate level of threat from multiple sources such as trafficking, exploitation and sexual assault.
SAPLING – This Modern Day Heroine is escaping her fate by running from a situation where she has been forced out of school and into an early marriage by her family.
Each year 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. Child marriage compromises girls development, ending their schooling and limiting their access to health, education and advancement. It exposes girls to increased risk of domestic violence and traps them and their children in a cycle of poverty.
TREE – our MDH is planning a life of freedom and fun with her sister but first she has to escape the rite of passage in her community that will threaten her health and limit her opportunities
More than 200 million girls who are alive today have undergone the cut in 30 countries where Female Genital Mutilation is concentrated (Africa, Middle East and Asia). The procedure is usually carried out somewhere between birth and the age of 15, it has no health benefits and can lead to multiple health complications.
SKY – this composite character is based on multiple examples of young women seeking to engage in business enterprises that benefit the environment and the community. She is also inspired by young female activists across the globe, who have been detained and had their freedom constrained after peacefully demonstrating for women’s rights.