THE 360° EXPERIENCE
The Awra Amba Experience allows viewers to visit this fascinating community on an immersive, 360° interface. 10 clickable huts on the village landscape give access to the real spaces in the village, and gives visitors a feeling of really being there through the textures, sounds and stories of the people. The interactive documentary includes 10 short documentaries, 11 beautiful rich media stories about many aspects of the community as well as interesting manifestos about the community’s way of life. Each space is linked to a specific global theme, including gender equality, education, sustainable growth, democracy etc. All the stories within The Awra Amba Experience are designed to spark conversations in many contexts, from classrooms, to village squares, to policy level.
THE 10 FILMS
There is no distinction between the work that women and men do in Awra Amba. In this film three women and three men from the village, who all work in roles traditionally performed by the opposite sex, share their thoughts on gender equality.
FAITH & PEACE
Religion is not practiced in Awra Amba. Instead, the community believes that faith is shown through loving and respecting one another. In this film the community founder Zumra Nuru tells us about Awra Amba’s take on faith and how the community managed to maintain a peaceful resistance when many of their neighbours wanted to kill them.
In this film, Enaney, a strong and articulate tour guide from the village, tells us about Awra Amba’s past and how they decided to reject food aid, despite being on the brink of starvation. She explains that Awra Amba opted to develop independently, using their humble weaving business as a platform to grow, which has helped them transform into the thriving social enterprise that they are today.
Etagegn is an elderly lady who, after the loss of her immediate family, decided to set off and find the idyllic village that she had heard people talking about, called Awra Amba. The community made a collective decision to take her under their wing. A social security fund that everyone contributes to on Tuesdays has helped Etagegn start afresh. Now she contributes to the charity fund herself.
In the school, we meet 18-year old Tsehaynesh, who has moved to Awra Amba from a neighbouring village, in order to turn a new leaf and continue her education. Tsehaynesh had to fight to annul her marriage, into which she was forced against her will, as a child. The community have given her a home, protection and access to high school education, so she can pursue her dreams.
In Ethiopia, just like in many other parts of the world, the elderly are neglected both socially and in care. In this film, 85-year old great grandfather Hossein Bogale, who was one of the founders of Awra Amba, tells us what life is like for the elderly in the village.
MARRIAGE & CHILDREN
Mesgana and Gebayehu are a newly-wed couple, who have recently become parents. In Awra Amba there is no wedding ceremony, a woman can ask a man to marry her and having too many children is seen as harmful.
Melkiye sits on the board of the Executive Committee, one of the 13 democratically elected committees in Awra Amba. She invites us to a weekly meeting and explains how the community ensures that everyone has a voice in their collective decision-making.
Awra Amba built their own clinic in 2008. Today, it services thousands of people from the local area. The community employs three health professionals to run the clinic, including Mulaw-Lanchi, a qualified nurse who moved to Awra Amba for the job. In this film she tells us how health professionals are at odds with local communities who insist on using traditional healing and witchcraft instead of seeking modern medical help.
Gebeyehu is one of Awra Amba’s first graduates. Despite several lucrative offers of employment in bigger towns and cities, Gebeyehu moved back to Awra Amba to help the community develop. He tells us about Awra Amba’s plan to grow and prosper – and how humanity and kindness will always be at the heart of their efforts.