September 8, 2018

Together We Stared at the Moon

A documentary produced for author J.K. Rowling’s charity Lumos is online now. Clips from the film have received over 100,000 views so far on social media.

Filmed and directed by Niamh Heery, who spent Summer 2017 travelling between two real institutions in Colombia and Bulgaria, Together We Stared at the Moon highlights the urgent issue of institutionalisation and the tireless and diverse work taking place to end the practice.

“What struck me as I was accepted into these very different worlds was the practitioners’ extremely personal dedication to their job. When asked about DI, any practitioner in Bulgaria or Colombia will say that love is the most important factor in the whole process.” noted Niamh. “The individuality of the child and the need for their voice to be heard were something we discussed a lot, not because it’s a line from a policy document, but because these people know and love each child as a unique human being and know the importance of their voice in this process. This common dedication is an invisible thread that ties the two places together across the globe in this film. The challenges each team face are very different, showing us how varied the DI experience can be, but there is always the same question driving these hard working people: what is best for the child?”

An estimated eight million children still live in institutions across the world. Deinstitutionalisation involves strengthening and developing services to prevent children being separated from families. It involves closing down institutions; including children in society and in their communities; and giving them their right to a family. This film is about the people who know that there is an alternative to institutional care, and who are working hard to make it happen. These are their stories, in their own words.
Watch the film:

Read more about Lumos’s work here.