Synopses of the Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award 2011 finalists
School Bus and 100 Tugrikis (Mongolia)
Production company: MNB-Mongolian National Public Television
There is no school bus system for Mongolia’s public schools. Children without access to transport or who can’t afford the public bus, typically those from low-income families, must walk up to 5 kilometers to reach their schools and then walk the same distance home. In winter time, when temperatures plummet to minus 30 degrees, it is especially brutal. Many arrive late, if they make it. Teachers lose patience with their tardiness. The students find it difficult to stay attentive and some eventually stop trying. Because they are unable to afford bus fare, some Mongolian children are denied their right to education. In following these children’s struggle to get to school, the documentary asks the government to consider waiving public bus fare for students in need. School Bus and 100 Tugrikis drives home the message that to reach their potential, all children need to first be able to reach the classroom.
Marginalized Crowd – Children of the Central Market (Indonesia)
Production company: TRANS 7
In the vast sea of Indonesia’s impoverished, there is a special group of children who populate the Central Market, working to contribute to their families’ survival while millions of children outside the market freely play and go to school. The program tells their stories from the world inside the Central Market and shows how the children help each other. It also speaks of the hope they harbor – to one day emerge from living below the poverty line.
The Struggling Butterfly (New Zealand)
Production company: Prime
The Struggling Butterfly is a short film on Ramadan – the Islamic month of fasting – in a largely Christian society. The story follows 8-year-old Isaiah as he fasts for the first time. He desperately wants to prove his grandmother wrong – to prove that his faith is important to him and that he can indeed fast a whole day, even while at school surrounded by his Christian friends, who would not be fasting.
Life is Going On (Mongolia)
Production company: Mongolian National Broadcaster
This documentary tells the story of a girl with disabilities who proves herself capable, demonstrating that that the life we each are given is worth living.
The Pearl Report: Protection (Hong Kong)
Production company: TVB Pearl Channel
Sexual minorities in Hong Kong schools endure anxiety and widespread homophobic bullying. According to a survey conducted by the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong, more than 50 percent of openly gay students suffer various forms of bullying. The greatest incidence and harshest reports came from respondents in all-boy schools. Not all the bullying is by fellow students. A quarter of the respondents said their teachers tell students that being attracted to someone of the same sex is bad and sinful; they make other degrading or discriminatory comments or insist that such an attraction can lead to mental health problems. The documentary report focuses on this form of bullying and how the Equal Opportunities Commission can do little to protect these children because there is no law to protect sexual minorities in Hong Kong. The Commission is pushing for such a law. But it is up against strong forces that perpetuate homophobia in schools. Homosexuality and Hope is a booklet published by the Catholic Medical Association and distributed to many local schools. The booklet talks not about being gay but refers to the situation as same-sex attraction, and tells readers: "The good news is that same-sex attraction is preventable and treatable and that, given God's grace and proper counseling, chastity according to one's state in life is possible."
Front Row: Finding Treasure among Trash (Philippines)
Production company: GMA Network, Inc.
The Smokey Mountain dumpsite in the Philippines used to be the biggest open rubbish dump in the country and one of the biggest in Asia. It operated for more than 40 years and contained more than 2 million tons of waste until it was closed down due to environmental and bio-safety concerns. But the dangers of exposure to hazardous waste have not stopped a number of families from still calling Smokey Mountain home. Finding Treasure among the Trash follows the lives of children who must follow their parents through the wasteland.
The Pearl Report: Minority Report (Hong Kong)
Production company: TVB Pearl Channel
Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong experience a gamut of cultural and language challenges. But students of South Asian and South-East Asian origin seem especially vulnerable to cruel taunting and racial discrimination. This documentary report asks if the government's official message of tolerance is being heard. It also questions if schools are delivering – the 12,000 minority students in Hong Kong's public school system have limited choice, and the government funding to cover their special needs in the 28 so-called ‘designated’ schools is sufficient for only 70 percent of them.
Temple Rider (Hong Kong)
Production company: TVB Jade
While Yan and her friends were cycling towards a temple, a wheel on her bike began to wobble and Yan started to tumble. Suddenly, she is pulled by a monkey wizard into the Magic Temple, away from the aliens. Struggling to flee on her wobbly bike, Yan pedals through all sorts of bewildering scenarios and recalls her past experiences in overcoming difficulties. Yan rediscovers her courage and finds ways for overcoming the challenges in her life.
Production company: Metro TV (Indonesia)
In celebration of local wisdom, a community revisits its historical traditions, particularly for games that help children improve their motor skills while stimulating their creativity and enabling them to take pride in their culture.