(23 minutes) Philippines
Director: Meagan Kelly
Producers: Rouven Steinfeld, Florian Hoffman
Thirteen-year-old Mary-Grace Rapatan has lived on a garbage dump in the Philippines her entire life, picking through mountains of trash to help feed her family. She is trapped in a cycle of poverty, but Mary-Grace is determined to give herself a better future by getting an education. She scavenges on weekends to pay for school, but a family tragedy soon takes hold. While in Grade 5, Mary-Grace’s father, the family’s provider, has a stroke. The girl is left a choice: quit school or starve. She begins scavenging eight hours a day on the Umapad garbage dump so her family can afford rice. Footage from a head-camera worn by Mary-Grace gives us a close and disturbing look at the conditions of the Umapad garbage dump. After months of scavenging in the heat only to make about a dollar a day, Mary-Grace begins wondering if she’ll ever have a second chance to build a future for her family. This film shows us the enormous burden one girl must carry, and the power education has to give children hope for the future.
Grace is Meagan Kelly’s debut film as a documentary director. With a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, twenty-five-year-old Kelly has gone to work internationally as a reporter and videographer. In 2010 Kelly was selected for a prestigious media fellowship with Dekeyser & Friends Foundation, and traveled across Asia and Europe producing the travel video podcast Inspiration Nation. While living in the Philippines, Meagan directed, shot and edited Grace as a tribute to a young girl she met on a garbage dump in Cebu. Inspired by the making of the film and the public’s response, Kelly has started The Gift of Grace Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating children living on garbage dumps in the Philippines.
Web site: www.thegiftofgrace.com/mary-grace