My name is Sabrina Jamil Aman.
I am both an American and an Eritrean.
This story is close to my heart, because I have realized through my journey how privileged I am to be a citizen of the United States. However, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge where my roots are planted.
Eritrea is a small country in North East Africa with a population of 5.5 million (and decreasing). The country is in crisis. Yet, so many do not know it even exists. I was one of these people living blissfully unaware of the horrors my people in the Sudanese refugee camps were facing. When I embarked on my journey in 2015, I had one goal… to see for myself what these camps were really like.
To say I was shocked would be an understatement.
My parents are immigrants. My own father is a well known Eritrean freedom fighter and so when I asked them if I could go visit these camps and document the conditions, they were understandably frightened for me.
You see, Eritrea operates under a one-party government. The result of that political system means that many national legislative elections and proposals continually get postponed in favor of keeping the status-quo.
Unlike free countries, Eritrea's oppressive military service forces men and women to serve in the army indefinitely. During my trip, I met refugees who despite an official two year military commitment were forced to serve more than 15 years. Those who attempt to escape the military are often captured and thrown in prison. According to Human Rights Watch, the Eritrean government has one of the worst human rights records in the world.
It is for these reasons that hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have chosen to flee the country. After hearing all the stories in the refugee camps, I knew I had to give back. It took months of convincing but my parents finally allowed me to go. What followed was an incredible life-changing experience.
I put my life on the line to bring you the stories of these refugees.
Now, I will tell their story with your help.
This documentary can only be completed with the help of caring individuals such as yourself. Your contribution will allow me to compile dozens of hours of footage recorded in secrecy in the camp. It will allow me to interview high level politicians in order to encourage real change in the Eritrean government. It will help open the western world’s eyes to this major problem and let people see for themselves what is truly happening to these magnificent people.
For those who have no voice, this documentary will be their voice. Your donation and support will help me do just that.
Despite living within terrifying boundaries of the refugee camps, Eritrean children remain vibrant and full of spirit!
What We Need
My goal of $35,000 will go towards:
All the heavy lifting has already been done in Eastern Sudan. Part of the budget will go towards traveling and hiring local crew in Washington, D.C. to interview high level government officials.
This is where we need most of the donations. Post-production is what brings this story to life by editing the dozens of hours we have filmed, and adding colors, sounds, graphics, and music licensing. My mission is to deliver a powerful documentary.
Marketing & Advertising:
After completing production and post production, my goal is to get the story out through social media marketing and film festivals.
Indiegogo fees & Perks:
Indiegogo's platform fee is 5% and a 3-5% processing fee per transaction for credit card and Paypal. So a total of 8% - 9%.
I am working very hard to spread the word as much as possible in order to reach the goal amount. It is critical to reach the goal in order to deliver a powerful and influential documentary. All funds, regardless if we make our goal or not, will go into creating a beautiful, moving, and life-changing documentary.
What you get
If you are interested in taking advantage of our perks, I encourage to select the perk that you want and make your donation. If you prefer to donate without receiving any perks, you are more than welcome to contribute by clicking on the "back it" button on the top of the page and enter whatever amount you want to contribute. In such case, we would use the donation 100% towards the production of the film.
Your contribution to this project will bring voices back to the voiceless. This documentary can inspire real political change. Your donation and sharing of the campaign will begin a much needed discussion on the truth of the refugee crisis. The possibilities for impact are limitless.
Proceeds from the documentary will go towards improving the refugee camps.
After returning from my trip, I was nominated and selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as UNHCR Refugee Agency as their High Profile Supporter and Honorary Representative on an information campaign project - Telling the Real Story.
I had the opportunity to visit four Eritrean refugee camps in Ethiopia in November 2016. My visit and my meeting with hundreds of refugees refueled my desire to tell their stories as quickly as possible.
Sabrina Jamil Aman
U.S. born to Eritrean parents, Sabrina has always valued Eritrean tradition and culture. Growing up, her family spoke only their native tongue of Tigrinya ensuring that she held on to her roots despite where she chose to reside. Sabrina has traveled to Eritrea numerous times since childhood and has witnessed the beauty of Eritrea with her own eyes. She is very proud of her Eritrean heritage and despite the current harsh conditions, she has unconditional love for Eritrea and its people. After graduating from George Mason University, she worked at The World Bank to assist in the reduction of poverty in developing countries. While working at The World Bank, Sabrina became aware f the underrepresentation of Eritreans in the media industry. Upon this realization, she then relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in media. Her love for the media industry, coupled with her natural talent in the arts, became a positive contribution to her career. She believes the media is extremely influential and far reaching and plans to use it as a platform to help the voiceless people of Eritrea.
A loving father of four, Jamil is known for his inspirational work as a humanitarian and his dedication to the improvement of the lives of Eritrean refugees worldwide. Born in Eritrea, in the neighborhood of "Gaza Berhanu", he became a political activist at the age of 14. His political involvement led to his imprisonment for what were considered radical activities in 1972. His love for his country led him to become a member of the Eritrean Liberation Front, a group that helped liberate him from prison in 1975. Jamil moved to Qatar in the late 1970s and began working with the Department of Justice in Qatar as well as one of world's top telecommunication companies - QTel. He is currently a member of the Eritrean National Congress for Democratic Change (ENCDC), working with the Refugee Department to find solutions to the refugee crisis. His commitment and dedication to serving humanity has influenced Sabrina and has given her the same drive to serve others. Additionally, Jamil continues to work vigorously to unify Eritrean Christians and Eritrean Muslims, as he believes there is tremendous strength in unity. His dream is to see a democratic Eritrea that will allow all Eritreans to return to their home country and live in peace.
Other Ways You Can Help
For supporters who can not afford to donate financially, I am here to tell you, that is ok!
What you can do is share this campaign. Describe how reading about the Eritrean refugee crisis has changed you and share your support of seeing the finished product.
Sometimes when things affect those close to us, others jump in willing to support. If you cannot support financially, please share this campaign on your social media and explain why YOU think it needs to be made.
My endless gratitude goes out to all of you who took the time to consider this campaign.
From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.