Rehabilitation: Speaking out on film
To mark UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June, members of Freedom from Torture's activism group Survivors Speak Out shared their experiences of rehabilitation for a special forthcoming film. Webmaster Philip Cartland met with the group and filmed their statements at one-day arts festival Celebrating Sanctuary on Sunday 17 June.
All week I had been anticipating rain for Celebrating Sanctuary, a one-day festival which was set to kick-off the week-long Refugee Week 2012. In my neighbourhood a boathouse used by hundreds of young people each year was set to be demolished due to a chance of flooding! But when I arrived at Embankment station to meet up our survivor activism group Survivors Speak Out (SSO) network, the sun was out and the festival was already buzzing.
Film-making on rehabilitation
My job there was to collect footage of our Survivors Speak Out members talking about their experiences of rehabilitation, which I was quite apprehensive about. Would members feel comfortable in front of the camera? Would I get the questions right and make them feel at ease? Did they really want to speak? Talking one-on-one is one thing, but a camera can add apprehension and anxiety.
The SSO members had already spent a day together learning about they could further their use of the media and website, as well as reflecting on their successes. Thankfully they had been introduced to the idea of using film to speak out - and all of them had agreed to speak on camera or to have their voice recorded!
As I sat down for the first interview I immediately felt their sincerity and strong belief in rehabilitation. I was put at ease by their willingness to speak on such personal level to me.
How devastating their experiences must have been, yet here they could speak so fluidly to me. How far they have come!
Later we all went to the Freedom from Torture stall in the hub of the festival. Information about the organisation's work was displayed for the steady stream of people passing through. Live music was captivating a crowd at the main stage, while we were spoilt for choice by an amazing range of food and drink, from coconut juice and Tusker beer, to carribean chicken and curry.
Thanks to some amazing learnt-on-the-spot interview skills from Training Co-ordonator Hannah and Campaigner Ben (they are naturals!) we caught yet more footage throughout the afternoon. With so many enthusiastic people, it couldn't have been easier!