Farrow to introduce 'Fire in Our Hearts'
A documentary film "Fire in Our Hearts" will be presented March 24 at 3 p.m. at Minor Memorial Library in Roxbury.
Mia Farrow, actress, humanitarian and resident of Bridgewater, will introduce the film made by a 16-year-old Indian girl.
The event is sponsored by the Roxbury Scholarship Foundation.
The documentary is one of a series made with the aid of the nonprofit BYkids organization.
"Fire in Our Hearts" shows the struggle of Jayshree and other young girls, born into virtual bondage in one of the tribal areas of India, several hours north of Mumbai, to liberate themselves through education.
The tribals, numbering perhaps 50 million people and scattered throughout India, descend from the subcontinent's original population, pre-dating the Aryan and Dravidian civilizations, and are outside the caste system.
Mostly illiterate, they were oppressed for generations by landlords, until well after India gained independence, on the pretext that they owed interest on loans that somehow were never paid off.
Informed of their rights by community organizers, many tribals declared themselves free of bondage. The government gave them land, where they first established a union hall and, 10 years later, a school for girls.
Jayshree pleaded for years to be allowed to go to the school but her parents resisted the idea. Young girls were expected to stay at home, to do household chores, to take care of younger brothers and sisters, and to help their families earn their livings -- in Jayshree's case by working at a brick kiln.
Jayshree's parents eventually were persuaded to allow her to enroll in school, but then her mother died, and relatives tried to force her to return to caring for her siblings.
Her father, however, had come to believe that the destiny of Jayshree and her family could be changed through the power of education. He stood by her in the face of the demands of the other family members.
Chopra and a second camerawoman, Cat Papadimitriou, spent a month in India in 2011 to help Jayshree make the film.
Farrow and Chopra will lead a discussion following the screening at the South Street library.
Donations to the scholarship foundation will be accepted.