Host a 'Visionaries' documentary viewing party

It's confirmed! Two "Visionaries" documentaries featuring the refugee resettlement and development work of Church World Service will be distributed to PBS-TV stations for airing beginning in December, kicking off the independently produced series' 18th season.

 

Refugee Family
Members of the Rasheed Qambari family, refugees resettled to Harrisonburg, Va., in the late 1990s.  Photo: Julienne Jones.

 

Two PBS TV specials feature Church World Service

It’s confirmed!  Two “Visionaries” documentaries featuring the refugee resettlement and development work of Church World Service will be distributed to PBS-TV stations for airing beginning in December, kicking off the independently produced series’ 18th season.

That makes NOW a great time to:

  • Check the listings for when your local PBS-TV station will carry the programs.  Each PBS-TV station decides whether and when to air “Visionaries.”  If your station has not yet scheduled it, reach out to the program director or community affairs director.  Let them know there is an audience for the series, promise to help promote it, and ask the station to carry the program at a reasonable hour.
  • Plan to host a “Visionaries” viewing party.  Click here for a guide.  In addition to airing on PBS, the two 30-minute programs about Church World Service will be available for download at www.visionaries.org and on DVD.  Contact CWS at 800-297-1516 or your CWS Regional Office at 888-297-2767 for more information and to order copies of the CWS Annual Report and CWS Monthly Partner brochure for each of your guests.

Hosted by veteran actor Sam Waterston (from "Law & Order" and HBO's "The Newsroom"), “Visionaries” documentaries highlight the rarely told stories of non-profit organizations all over the globe that are working to make a positive difference in their communities and beyond.

The documentary crew traveled to Kenya to film at the Kakuma Refugee Camp and at the CWS Resettlement Support Center in Nairobi. The latter helps refugee applicants to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program prepare their case files, then offers successful candidates an initial orientation to U.S. culture and help with travel logistics.

The crew also spent two days at the CWS refugee resettlement site in Richmond, Va., where they interviewed both newly arrived refugees and refugees who arrived several years ago and are now well integrated into the community.

Among interviewees was Chandra Chhetri, a Nepali ethnic refugee from Bhutan. He and his family lived in a bamboo stick shack in a refugee camp in Nepal before being resettled to Richmond in 2008. Now a CWS refugee program caseworker, he has saved enough money from his modest salary to make a down payment on a house.

The “Visionaries” crew accompanied Chhetri house hunting. It also visited the Chhetris and another Nepali Bhutanese family at home, interviewed a refugee from Darfur, and filmed an English as a Second Language class for refugees hosted by West End Presbyterian Church.

“For CWS, resettlement is not just an agency project, it is a community project,” said CWS Virginia Director Viktor Sokolyuk. “Church participation is essential to resettlement. The ‘Visionaries’ crew saw how deep CWS’s roots are in the community, and how many different partners play a role in the refugee resettlement process.”

The documentary crew also filmed CWS agricultural training and grant programs in Honduras; several Giving Hope projects in Nairobi, Kenya’s Mathare slums, and the nation’s largest CWS CROP Hunger Walk, in Charlotte, N.C.

"Every place we visited, I saw the powerful impact CWS-supported projects have had on individual communities and families," says "Visionaries" Producer/Director Jody Santos.

Want more information? Contact irp@churchworldservice.org.

 

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