Skoll Foundation


Stories of Change Film, “Rafea: Solar Mama,” Premieres at Toronto Today

September 10, 2012 by

We’re excited to announce that at the Toronto International Film Festival today at 2:30 p.m. EST, you can see the new Sundance STORIES OF CHANGE feature documentary film RAFEA: SOLAR MAMA. Watch at the TIFF Docs Conference, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3.

RAFEA: SOLAR MAMA, directed by Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief, is about  Rafea, an illiterate Bedouin woman who travels to Bunker Roy’s Barefoot College to become a solar engineer.  The screening is the first film in the “Why Poverty” series.

Here’s the synopsis:

“Rafea, a 30-year-old with four children and a husband who is eager to take a third wife is a Bedouin woman living in a small Jordanian village close to the desert. With encouragement from the country’s Ministry of Environment, she leaves her village for the first time to go to the (Skoll Awardee) Barefoot College in India to train to become a solar-energy engineer.

She is the first Jordanian woman ever to attend such a program, and she dreams of returning to bring much-needed income and talents to support her family and village. But two months into the program, Rafea’s husband insists that she return home or he will divorce her and take her children. With no real choice in the matter, Rafea goes back to her village and sets out to persuade her husband and other family members that her studies in India benefit everyone. In her journey away from home, back, and then away once more, Rafea goes through a profound transformation, returning as an educated woman with the skills to earn an income and achieve for her community what others could not.

Established in 2007, STORIES OF CHANGE is a multiyear $4.5M partnership between Skoll and Sundance. To date, the initiative has hosted 17 convenings and funded 9 feature-length films plus 3 short films. Learn more about it at the video above.

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