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Just over a year ago, in the small village of Nabweye, Uganda, one out of four children died from drinking non-potable water. Died. From water. That all changed when Marie-Antoinette Boot, a stay-at-home-mom from a suburban town in Connecticut decided she wanted to do something special for her 50th birthday. Her version of “special” wasn’t going on a luxury cruise or having a spa vacation—it was about making a tangible difference in the lives of villagers who had so few resources, they were referred to as “the forgotten people” by their fellow countrymen. It was about connecting with a remote, deprived community 7,000 miles away in sub-Saharan Africa. It was about using first-world resources to help those who faced life-and-death on a daily basis in a third world country.
The Forgotten People tells the story of one woman who brought water, school supplies, seeds, and hope to an entire village and how that village in turn, brought a profound sense of joy and purpose to that woman.
Inspired by the village’s dramatic progress, Marie-Antoinette undertook another challenge—to build a small medical center so that the villagers of Nabweye wouldn’t die for lack of basic medical care and supplies; so that pregnant women would no longer deliver their babies at the side of the road in the middle of the night when they couldn’t make it to the overwhelmed and understaffed regional medical center. So she came back to her community in lush, sleepy Connecticut and spread the word. In two-and-a-half months she had raised enough money to build a brand new medical center.
The villagers refer to her fondly as KaiKha, or “kind woman,” and now Marie-Antoinette’s goal is to inspire other parents, kids, and communities across the country to do what she did—help bring water, supplies, and basic medical care to those who have been forgotten.
Now the villagers of Nabweye can obtain much-needed medical care. Pregnant women no longer fear dying at the side of the road during childbirth. Now they can deliver their babies in a modern medical facility with electricity, running water, and trained medical professionals. People with malaria, typhoid, and other diseases can get treatment. And for the first time in their lives the people of Nabweye can get access to medical care in their own village.
The Forgotten People documents one woman’s mission to use modern technology to create a bridge between two very different communities, on two vastly different continents. What she discovers is that it is compassion that unites us all.
Megan Smith-Harris, Producer/Director. Megan’s career encompasses documentary, television, film, theater, and radio both in Canada and the United States. She is the president and co-owner of Pyewackitt Productions, an independent production company with a commitment to create high quality, socially relevant programs with a unique perspective. Megan produced, directed and co-wrote the critically acclaimed documentary TRIAL BY FIRE: Lives Re-forged. The film has aired on PBS, been dubbed, "a must-see" by Real Screen, "emotionally potent” by the Los Angeles Times, and “a truly important film” by PBS International. Megan also helmed three documentaries for the Women’s Entertainment Network: SURROGATE STORIES, CHILD BRIDES, and POLYGAMY. In addition, programs and moderates the New Perspectives Documentary Series in Wilton, Connecticut where she lives with her husband and business partner, Bill Harris, their son Jack, and a very energetic rescue dog named Duncan.
Bill Harris, Executive Producer. Bill is CEO and co-owner of Pyewackitt Productions. A television programming executive with 30 years broadcast and cable experience, Bill has worked with ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, and spent 16 years as head of production for the A&E Television Networks (A&E, History, Lifetime and Biography channels). Bill joined A&E in 1994 overseeing Documentary Programming, including the development, launch and unprecedented success of the Emmy Award-winning BIOGRAPHY® series. As VP of Production, he managed the launch of THE HISTORY CHANNEL before becoming SVP of Production and Broadcast Operations. A multiple Emmy, Telly, Ace, Cine and Vision Award winner, Bill has been inducted into the National Association of Minorities in Cable (NAMIC) Hall of Fame and was named a Cable Maverick by the Cable Center in 2008. More recently, Bill was executive producer on two Oscar® qualifying documentaries, including DIGITAL DHARMA and TRIAL BY FIRE: LIVES RE-FORGED He also directed and produced THE TACKLE GIRLS: ONE TEAM, ONE MISSION, a feature documentary on the world champion gold medal women's football team from the USA.