Community Cinema

The Revolutionary Optimists

Child activists in Calcutta spreading health messages with megaphones.

Child activists in Calcutta spreading health messages.

6 pm Tuesday, May 14
Champaign Public Library

Former attorney Amlan Ganguly doesn’t simply rescue children living in Calcutta’s slums. He empowers them to transform their own neighborhoods and lives—cleaning up trash dumps, going to school, reducing malaria infection. Follow Amlan and three of the children he works with as they fight for the better future he encourages them to believe can be theirs. Join us for a free screening and discussion of issues it raises. Watch a preview.

On the discussion panel are University of Illinois law professor Suja Thomas, whose interest in raising awareness of personal responsibility and charitable giving is reflected in her blog, The Give Blog; Ratisha Carter, youth engagement specialist for the Champaign County ACCESS Initiative’s YOUTHMOVE program; and Sally Carter, founder and executive director of Tap in Leadership Academy, an after-school and summer enrichment program in Champaign-Urbana. YOUTHMOVE and Tap In are partnering with Illinois Public Media for the event.

Ganguly hopes to replicate his earlier work that encouraged children in Calcutta’s slums to cut their neighborhoods' malaria and diarrhea rates in half, and turn former garbage dumps into playing fields. Now Ganguly is attempting the same success in the brickfields outside Calcutta where children make and carry bricks using methods unchanged for centuries. Proposing a workable solution to intractable problems associated with poverty, Ganguly's story suggests that education and child empowerment are crucial keys to lifting entire societies out of hopelessness.