Written and Directed by Toluwalola Kasali
Remember Me tells the story of people who have been forced to flee their homes due to the Boko Haram conflict in North-East Nigeria and highlights their experiences living in camps and host communities. The ongoing conflict has displaced over 2 million people, and more than 50% of them have been living in this situation for more than five years, making their displacement prolonged.
They face abuse, exploitation, and discrimination to meet their basic needs and deal with anxiety about their future. Women and children represent over 75 percent of the displaced population and are particularly vulnerable when in need of food, shelter, hygiene, and menstrual items. Despite years of humanitarian assistance, they continue to depend on infrequent relief distributions to meet their daily needs and are unable to become self-reliant, which affects their self-esteem and ability to rebuild their lives with dignity.
In addition to highlighting their experiences, this documentary also proffers solutions that combine psychosocial and vocational skills support to achieve self-reliance by closing the transition gap from aid-dependence to self-reliance. It demonstrates solutions that empower displaced persons to improve their state of mind, earn a living, and end their protracted displacement.
This documentary will be available to watch online on completion of the selection process by film festivals.
This is a project that is very close to my heart and has been for many years. About five years ago, I was driving to work in Lagos, South-West Nigeria. I listened to the radio as I was stuck in the morning rush-hour traffic and the news segment came up. They discussed the challenges men, women, and children faced as they fled their homes in North-East Nigeria to survive attacks by Boko Haram. I knew at that moment that I wanted to do something about it, but I had no idea what or how.
That morning, I arrived at my office where I worked as a lead research analyst and asked myself a simple question – “what skill do you possess right now that can help to make a difference?” So, I turned to research – I published my first report titled “An Integrated Approach to Rehabilitating Internally Displaced Persons with dignity” in 2015, which focused on providing a framework to empower displaced persons through counselling, skills acquisition, and resources in order to achieve self-reliance, leave the camps and rebuild their lives with dignity.
Over the years, I have continued to advocate for displaced persons to improve their state of mind and earn a living in order to close the transition gap from aid-dependence to self-reliance. I have also influenced global policies on forced displacement by speaking at high-level meetings organised by the WHO, World Bank, and UK government, publishing articles, reports, and a book. This documentary is another tool to help educate, create awareness, proffer solutions and drive discussions on the need to use self-reliance as a bridge to end protracted displacement.
I want to see a world where people who have been forced to flee their homes are empowered through psychosocial support, vocational skills training, and resources to improve their self-confidence, rebuild their livelihood, and enable reintegration into society with dignity.