One of the reasons I started the /Filmcast was because I believe film has the power to change our lives. I’m sure all of us at some point have been moved, changed, or informed by a film that we’ve seen. In fact, in the U.S. and in other countries, film has the power to convey life-changing information to those in need.

That’s why I’d like you to help us raise $10,000 to bring the power of film to an African refugee camp by sponsoring a 10-hour long live broadcast of the /Filmcast. Intrigued? You can read more details after the jump, or you can head straight to the donate page right now.

FilmAid International is the organization we’ve chosen to support in this funding drive. They are a non-profit organization that is a Global Implementing Partner of the UNHCR, and all donated funds will go directly to them. Here’s how it works: You donate money to charity through FilmAid’s website. For every $1,000 that gets donated (rounding down), we will broadcast for 1 hour live on Saturday, March 30th for up to 10 hours in a rowShould we meet our goal or come reasonably close to it, you can expect a fun-filled day-long internet “telethon,” filled with lots of great guests from the history of our show, plus maybe some other cool surprises. Large segments of this 10-hour long broadcast will also be recorded and released separately on the podcast. And to be clear, this won’t affect any of our other regular weekly activities on the /Filmcast, which continues to be free for download (and always will be).

The first reaction most people have to an organization like FilmAid is, “Why film?” Why spend money bringing film to a place that desperately needs water, food, and other necessities? The reason is that in such a challenging environment, film can be a critical source of information on health and safety issues, from HIV and cholera to gender-based violence. It can save lives. And perhaps just as importantly, it can provide a medium for refugees to connect with their own humanity, escape the trauma of their past and ease the purgatory of their present. In technical terms, this is called “psychosocial relief” – but we know it as simply “the magic of the movies.”

All funding that you donate will go straight to FilmAid’s program in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the world now with over 400,000 refugees from Somalia as a result of on-going famine and political insecurity. The famine crisis reached its worst in the summer of 2011, when thousands crossed the border into Dadaab every day. This film was made by FilmAid students, refugees themselves, in the midst of that crisis:

In Dadaab, the three main programs that FilmAid runs are 1)  screening educational and inspirational films  whether on a giant screen on the side of a truck or on a television set, 2) working with refugee communities and humanitarian agencies to produce media for the camp including including films, radio, and newspapers, and 3) training young refugees in filmmaking and storytelling. These three programs are outlined here. All the money you donate will fund this important work.

I believe in the importance and the transformative power of well-told stories. Together, we can help refugees in Dadaab tell their stories to the world, and enjoy the power of movies. If every person who listens to the /Filmcast donated just $1, we’d have more than enough money to meet our goal. I hope that you’ll join us and donate today.

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