Tapestries of Hope

Amid spiraling poverty and political corruption, Zimbabwe has become the number one HIV/AIDS-infected country in the world. In a fatal but little discussed exacerbation of the problem, traditional healers have been counseling men that they can cure the disease by raping a virgin. One of the leading causes of the increased spread of the virus, this practice has led to widespread infection of young girls and their newborns. Filmmaker and advocate Michealene Cristini Risley explores the rape and AIDS crisis in Zimbabwe, drawing on a friendship with activist Betty Makoni, a native Zimbabwean whose Girl Child Network was founded to protect and promote the rights of Zimbabwe’s girl children. In Risley’s documentary exposé, the girls tell their heartbreaking stories while the filmmaker discovers how Betty has helped them to find their voices and speak of the atrocities. Something very special happens as we get to know them: We witness their resilience, their openness to healing and the laughter that makes this all possible. It is their willingness to walk the journey from pain to recovery that weaves the “Tapestries of Hope” highlighted here.

While the documentary’s crew was arrested, incarcerated and deported from the country for attempting to tell this story, Tapestries of Hope is testament to the fact that neither they nor their astounding subjects, the girls of Zimbabwe, will be silenced.


2010 Monaco Film Festival Special Mention for "Inspiration and Strong Message"

2010 The Directors Guild of America, Director Finder Series

2009 WIFTS Best Documentary

2009 Honolulu International Film Festival – “Aloha Accolade” Award for Excellence in Filmmaking - Documentary

2009 Accolade Film Awards 2009, Award of Merit

2009 Louisville International Festival of Film, Best Documentary

2009 The Indie Fest, Award of Excellence

2008 Amnesty International’s Ginetta Sagan Award for Women’s and Children’s Rights - Betty Makoni

2007 Junior Chamber International (JCI) Outstanding Young Persons of the World - Betty Makoni

2007 Society for New Communications Research Media blog of the year - http://savehope.blogspot.com/