Director’s Statement

Jayshree Janu Kharpade

My name is Jayshree Janu Kharpade and I made this movie. I am a 16-year-old girl from the Warli tribe in Maharashtra State, India.

Me, and all the girls here at my school, are the lucky ones. We are the first generation who will not be illiterate like our mothers.

80 million tribal people live in India today. Their cultures and traditions are the foundations of India’s ancient civilization. But many worked as slaves to landlords because they could not repay small loans. They were illiterate and did not know that this bondage was against the law.

In the late 1970s a movement to free these slaves began near the city of Mumbai. Tribal men and women formed a labor movement and succeeded in freeing themselves from bondage.

Ten years ago, the union’s members built a residential school for their daughters. Nearly every girl at the school is the first in her village to receive an education.

Read more about Jayshree and Joyce working on the film in India in the Notes from the Field.