In an effort to shed light on mental health issues within the Rwandan society, the ‘Umva Visualizing Peace’ campaign, spearheaded by Eric Kabera and backed by the Kwetu Film Institute, has made a significant move to leverage the power of film as an advocacy tool in tackling the persistent issue. ALSO READ: 35% of Genocide survivors have mental health problems – RBC Below, we share details of the movies screened in Kigali on December 14: 'My Story’, portrays the harrowing experience of a girl harassed by her grandfather’s wife, leading her to become a street child due to relentless harassment. It is based on the true story of Clarisse who was also featured in this film. Clarisse, born while her mother was a student, was taken to her grandfather’s home, where his wife rejected her. She faced continual harassment and eventually experienced a traumatic event before deciding to live on the streets. There, she resorted to begging and took on grueling work to survive. ‘Sound On the Hill’ or simply ‘Urusaku Ku Musozi’ sheds light on family bullying. This one, Queen Melissa Mbabazi who acted as Gaju was being harassed by her step-mother, endless torment each and every morning until she left home. ‘My Poem’ delves into the life of a depressed girl who feels unaccomplished and worthless. Part of the poem reads in Kinyarwanda: “Why should I be alone? Why should I be isolated? I know, after all, I am a mistake.” These poignant narratives aim to tackle pertinent issues ranging from homeless children, to mental health challenges within familial and educational environments. ALSO READ: Newly launched ‘youth-friendly’ mental health campaign to focus on prevention Eric Kabera, founder of Kwetu Film Institute and Rwanda Cinema Centre, which are organizations dedicated to providing civic and cultural education in Rwanda through film as a tool of dissemination, said: “the program aims to raise mental health awareness in schools, families, and communities due to various observed factors affecting Rwandan society. “All we want is to address stigma, create educational platforms for parents and individuals in society, and incorporate psychosocial and clinical therapies to address prevalent community problems,” Kabera said. He emphasizes the need for the country to acknowledge and embrace these issues to alleviate societal challenges. Highlighting the multitude of mental health challenges faced by Rwandans, Kabera urges care and support for those undergoing these difficulties recognizing the country’s historical experiences with trauma. ALSO READ: Youth-friendly approach to mental health awareness is a deal-breaker Mbabazi, the actor in ‘Sound on the Hill’ said: “Even though it was acting, it seemed real until I felt about how I would feel if I had to wake up to the same thing every morning, to the same torment each and every morning. And I wonder how other people feel, if someone abuses them every day for just being you. You did not make a mistake or hurt anyone. It is only being there that you have to pay its cost.” She added: “People should know that just because people abuse you, or just because people are against you, it doesn’t mean that you’re the cause of the problems. It is always other people’s baggage being thrown upon you, and I can advise people to always check why they are being against you,” she added. “However, I advise them to write down or to always speak to someone. Because if you don’t do it, you cannot get any help. You can also express yourself in many ways; singing, dancing, writing, talking and many more. There is power in finding your strength in solace,” Mbabazi said.