Marking this year’s United Nation’s World Day of Social Justice, three new films make their debut on iwonder this February, following the plights and personal struggles of individuals and families around the world, while highlighting the need for the ongoing global pledge to delivering social justice for all.

From the garbage dumps of Central America where scavenging means survival, to a remote island in Southeast Asia where infant jockeys risk their lives to provide for their families, each of these films is a powerful reminder of everyone’s – particularly children’s – right to the same opportunities in life as those in the developed world.

That theme continues in this month’s iwonder What Top Five, with five films examining the different perspectives of those looking to reclaim what they’ve lost, escape from where they have become trapped, or turn things around where they remain.

Clean Hands

#Social Justice #Family #Heatfelt

The four Lopez children, aged between 6 and 10, live with their parents on La Chureca, Central America’s largest garbage dump - the dump is the only world they have ever known. Then a philanthropist hears of the family’s plight and builds them a small house in the country with land they can farm. The kids can attend school for the first time and the family can escape the desolation and dead-end life of La Chureca.

But what should be an amazing opportunity for everyone turns into a much more complex tale of love and loss, rescue and salvation, as the family adjusts to their new life. When things take an unexpected dark turn, their very future as a family appears in jeopardy.

Shot over the course of seven years, ‘Clean Hands’ is a multi award-winning account of family, extreme poverty and the hope and innocence of children.

Riders of Destiny

#Social Justice #World #Family

On the remote island of Sumbawa, Indonesia, the market for tiny jockeys is huge. The successful ones can earn enough to feed their families for an entire generation. But while their ancestors began at 10, today’s child jockeys often start as young as three. Firman, five, is just starting out as a child jockey. He falls off his horse every day as he tries to reach speeds of 70 km/h – barefoot and without a saddle or any protective clothing.

Sila, seven years old, is one of the most in-demand jockeys of all the young riders. His parents no longer have to work because the money he earns takes care of the whole family.

But in this traditional sport, accidents are frequent. Many children are crippled. Some die.

Refugee

#Social Justice #War #International

From the executive producer of ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ comes a moving account of Europe’s migrant crisis.

In 2015, at the height of the Syrian war, Raf’aa was forced to make a life-changing decision: with her husband, Nazem in hospital and the bombs getting closer, she fled Syria alone to seek asylum for her family. Nazem and their two boys plan to join her in Europe a few weeks later but by the time they were able to leave, it was too late. The political climate had changed. The borders to Europe were closed.

Safe in Germany but traumatized by what she witnessed on her journey, Raf’aa fights desperately for reunification. Two thousand miles away, Nazem and her children live through their own nightmare, trapped in one of the worst refugee camps in Europe.

Over the next eighteen months, Refugee follows the journey of a family fighting to be reunited. A mother battles to bring her children to safety, while a father attempts to shield his children from what it means to be a refugee.

iwonder When

20th February

On 26 November 2007, the General Assembly declared that 20th February will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice.

The Declaration came at a crucial political moment, reflecting the need for a strong social dimension to globalisation in achieving improved and fair outcomes for all.

The General Assembly recognised that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security. It further recognised that there remain serious challenges, including serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and among societies, and considerable obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy for developing countries, as well as some countries with economies in transition.

iwonder Who

Terrance Wallace

The man at the centre of iwonder’s ‘In the Zone’, Chicago native and community innovator, Terrance Wallace spent seven years in New Zealand, where he created the InZone Project, providing opportunities for minority youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to live in a nurturing residential environment with wrap-around support. In 2016, Wallace returned home to Chicago from New Zealand to leverage his sphere of influence to combat the challenges that continue to plaque minority communities across the USA.

iwonder What

A Better Life

In this month’s iwonder What Top Five, we follow the stories of those who have either seen their lives turned upside down, or are still fighting to make the best of the hand that life has dealt them.

1) Food Chains

#USA #Food #Workers

There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers who form the foundation of our fresh food industry are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved. Food Chains exposes the abuse of farmworkers within the United States and the complicity of the multi billion-dollar supermarket and fast food industries.

2) Está Todo Bien – It’s All Good

#Corruption #Politics #Society

The near-total collapse of Venezuela’s health system is resulting in severe medicine shortages, a dramatic increase in infant mortality, the reappearance of once-eradicated diseases like diphtheria, and a mass exodus of doctors to hospitals overseas. In Está Todo Bien, Caracas-born Tuki Jencquel asks a pharmacist, trauma surgeon, activist and two patients to confront the same questions millions of Venezuelans are facing: protest or acquiesce, emigrate or remain, lose all hope or hang onto faith?

3) No Dress Code Required

#LGBTQ #Justice #Society

Mexican gay couple, Victor and Fernando, become the first ones in their state to fight for same-sex marriage, in a place filled with homophobia and inequality. Through their struggle, both in the courts and in the community, they manage to open the eyes of Mexican society, and affirm a love that fills every frame of this film.

4) In the Zone

#Education #Equality #Culture

The extraordinary story of a man from West Side Chicago who attempts to transform the lives of a group of New Zealand teens, in a bid to prove that cycles of inequality can be broken

5) Yasuni Man

#Environment #Survival #Justice

A desperate struggle between conservationists and oil interests plays out in Yasuni Man, as the indigenous peoples living in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon struggle to preserve their way of life against encroaching modernity. Filmmaker and biologist Ryan Patrick Killackey documents both the staggering biodiversity of the Yasuni region at risk of destruction alongside the Waorani people who call it home.

Note: All content highlights are based on availability in Australia and New Zealand. Variations will apply across South East Asia and the Middle East.