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Female, immigrant domestic workers bring their stories of survival, empowerment and activism to center stage.
Female, immigrant domestic workers bring their stories of survival, empowerment and activism to center stage.
247 backers pledged $19,343 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$19,343

247

WE'RE GOING FOR 500 PLEDGES AND $20,000!!!  

The additional money will allow us to

  • translate and subtitle the film in Bangla, Hindi, Tamil and Spanish
  • support Andolan members and other domestic workers in crisis situations who need help with temporary housing, legal fees or other assistance 

THE MORE WE GET THE MORE WE CAN GIVE.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!!

THE FILM

Claiming Our Voice is a short documentary film by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel sharing the stories of Andolan, a Queens-based workers center founded and led by female South Asian immigrant domestic workers as a means to support each other and collectively organize against exploitative work conditions. The film follows the women as they create a multilingual theatre performance with the hopes of preventing further injustice in their communities. Claiming Our Voice breaks community silence by allowing women to (literally) set the stage for how their stories will be told.

THE ISSUE

Domestic work includes childcare, cleaning and cooking and takes place in the home. The majority of domestic workers are female, foreign born and persons of color.  Claiming Our Voice’s main characters work in this industry, one prone to low wages, long hours, no benefits, and extreme isolation.  While the issue of domestic work has received increased attention, we rarely hear from domestic workers themselves. Through the course of the film, our characters are revealed as their own heroines - challenging stereotypical images of immigrants and low-wage workers as well as notions of culture, race, gender, and class.   

THE ASK

The hard-earned money you pledge will go towards the completion of this film so we can get it ready for release. Check our website to see the bios of our amazing team!  

  • Post-Production Costs such as Editing, Sound Mixing, Color Correction (Amanda Hughes, Steve Perski, Begona Colomar)
  • Musical Score for the film (Arooj Aftab and Joshua Valleau)
  • Developing a High School and University level Curriculum (Dr. Monisha Bajaj and Promiti Islam from Columbia University)
  • Developing and Printing Publicity Materials (Valerie Caesar and Christine Wong Yap)

REMEMBER, KICKSTARTER IS ALL OR NOTHING

If we don't make our goal, we don't keep any of the money. So even if you can't pledge, please share this project with your friends, family and colleagues.  Post about us on Facebook, Twitter and blogs.  If we exceed our goal, we'll be able to give money back to members of Andolan to assist with their ongoing support of domestic workers at risk in the NYC area including expenses such as housing and legal costs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This film and the theatre project it documents has been a labor of love from the start.  We thank Brooklyn Arts Council for their support of the film as well as Asian Women Giving Circle, Poets & Writers, The Puffin Foundation, The Culture Project's Women Center Stage Festival and Queens Council on the Arts for their support of the original theatre project.  

I am grateful for the team who have brought the project this far including the members of Andolan who trusted me with their stories; Chitra Aiyar, YaliniDream, Monisha Bajaj, Promiti Islam and Nisha Varia for their expertise, ideas and support; Amanda Hughes and Steve Perski for their hard work in the edit room, Valerie Caesar and Christine Wong Yap for their design skills, Radcliffe Roye for lending gear and Anderson Zaca for shooting the Kickstarter video.  

Thank you for your support!! 

Jen, Chitra, YaliniDream and the COV Team!

Risks and challenges

Once the film and curriculum are complete, we have to navigate general distribution and educational distribution. Given the dearth of visual materials about domestic workers, I think this film can live a long, productive life in the classroom and beyond - the question is finding the right distributors who can help me get it into the hands of the right people.

Another challenge is having the film reach domestic workers - especially those who are offline. We are already planning to do community screenings in conjunction with domestic workers organizations but strategies to reach people beyond those groups and across multiple languages is something we are currently working on.

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FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SHOUT OUT on Facebook and Twitter!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Personalized, handwritten CLAIMING OUR VOICE POSTCARD from the Director, Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel. Plus, all of the above!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    57 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of YaliniDream's poetry and storytelling. YaliniDream facilitated the theater piece featured in Claiming Our Voice. Plus, all of the above!

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    25 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD original score for Claiming Our Voice composed by Arooj Aftab and Joshua Valleau. Plus, all of the above!

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    18 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    ONLINE SCREENING You will be able to view a sneak preview of the full film online when it's complete. Plus all of the above!

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    13 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Join other supporters and team members for a SCREENING & DINNER PARTY at the Brooklyn home of the Director. Plus, all of the above!

    *Travel and accommodation not included. Date will be selected based on the majority of attendees schedules.

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    6 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit in the film. Plus, all of the above!

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    1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Have the Director or YaliniDream attend your own PRIVATE SCREENING of the film. Plus all of the above!

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    2 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    YaliniDream will facilitate a 2 hour workshop on integrating arts and activism at an institution of your choice. Plus, all of the above!
    *YaliniDream's travel and accommodation outside of NYC must be provided.
    OR
    16 x 20 inch photograph by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel. Choose from a selection of limited edition photographs

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    PRODUCER credit in the film. Plus, all of the above

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    1 backer
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Funding period

- (45 days)