Amidst the astonishing poverty of Calcutta streets, one woman creates a miraculous melting pot of potential where rich, poor, destitute, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, children unite, actively rewire their society and create a future of their own choosing.
Meet Maya who at five years old managed to care for her 2 year-old sister for 6 months in the train station alone. Kali, a young girl from the street who now has the power not only to fight for her abused mother, but for the education and rights of women and girls in general. Saloni, Anamika, Agnes and others who are among thousands of other children who are reaching out to help and sit beside one another.
Sit Beside Me is the story of a young Irish girl who longed to comfort the untouchables of her own classroom during World War 2. At 13, Cyril Mooney resolved to dedicate her life to helping those living in oppression on the margins of society. At 20, she went to India for life, to sit beside those most in need. There she opened the gates of her school to children of all castes, religions and social backgrounds, igniting a surprisingly simple yet radically effective revolution in education.
Filmed over seven years in Calcutta, Sit Beside Me is a journey into the surprising lives of Sister Cyril’s children and how they are remaking their society one child at a time, from the inside out. “I sat with children whose heads were crawling with lice and I went home and told my mother – no one will sit beside them.” She said, “You will sit beside them. And I will clean your hair when you come home.” – Sister Cyril Mooney.
Title: Sit Beside Me
Country: India/Czech Republic/Norway/ USA
Length: 52 min
Production year: 2012
Original language: English
Directors/Producers: Audun Nedrelid/Linda Jandejsková/Jenne Magno
Director of Photography: Audun Nedrelid
Editor: Linda Jandejsková
Executive Producer: Jenne Magno
Director of Outreach Program: Linda Jandejsková
Music composer: James Whetzel
Sound mix/design: Michael Pajdak
Creative partners and consultants: Helga Marie Sulen Sund (NO), Emma Morris (US) Jason Lucero (US) Liz Magno Barnes (US)