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IRC Documentary Series Focuses On Youth Education In War-Torn Countries

Afghan students attend an under tent class in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Afghan students attend an under tent class in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2015.

The second installment of the International Rescue Committee’s documentary film festival is set for Wednesday evening in Balboa Park.

The executive director of the IRC, Donna Duvin, sat down with KPBS Evening Edition Host Ebone Monet about the documentary series.

Q: Can you tell us more about three films?

The film that was shown, last week, really focused on exhibiting what was going on in Afghanistan over a period of decades that have really involved the country at war. And it focused on the experience of children who were seeking an education and the teachers who are trying to impart that education in a war-torn country. And it really depicted the resilience that came from both sides. The dedication of children to pursue their education, and how hard the teachers work to provide that in circumstances that were quite challenging.

Q: Can you give us a sneak peek of next week?

A: Next week is actually an HBO presented documentary that's called “It Will Be Chaos.” It's focused on the refugee experience for those who are fleeing the Middle Eastern countries but across the Mediterranean in particular. You'll have a chance to see two refugee stories that really depict the resilience and the fortitude of families as they're having that experience.

Q: What are the uniting themes between the films?

A: I think the thing we really want to bring home to the audience is that people don't flee their home and loved ones and great memories by choice. They flee because they have no choice, it’s because of violence and persecution that they up and leave everything behind.

And it's a treacherous journey that they undertake, oftentimes with women and children in tow. We want them to understand what fortitude, what resilience and what courage it takes for people to make that choice.

Q: What do you hope people who come away from the theater?

A: I think I want them to see the heart and the conviction of people who are seeking a new opportunity. The women that are depicted in tonight's film are women who have oftentimes been contained, in terms of their opportunities, to be empowered to have careers who are seeking education. And when they're given that opportunity even sometimes through a refugee camp to have education for the first time. Or if they come to another country and seek education or empowerment and freedoms. You see individuals who have been under threat of violence who are coming to life for the very first time and finding their voices and it's such an uplifting opportunity to be a part of.

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