After three students studied abroad to Guatemala in 2007 and witnessed firsthand the importance of fair trade coffee to a healthy economy, they set out to make a 22-minute documentary entitled Somos de Café, which loosely translates to "We are coffee," in Spanish. This film focuses on Kuchuba'l, a non-profit organization in Guatemala that works to promote fair-trade throughout the country. Six students from CSB/SJU traveled to Guatemala to witness first-hand the effects that the coffee industry has on small farmers. They documented their discovery in an educational video that brings outside assistance to the Kuchuba'l organization, to the rural farmers they support, and to the success of the fair trade movement on the market economy in Guatemala.
Inspired action: Two student-run and one school-run coffee shops on campus are committed to serving fair-trade coffee. ETL collaborated with Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) to raise awareness through fair-trade coffee sales on campus.
Watch our documentary Somos De Cafe.
Extending the LINK produced its second film in 2009. This poignant documentary is called Del Micro al Cambio, translated as 'from the small to the change.' Four CSB/SJU students traveled to central Chile to learn about the important micro-lending industry that is becoming a source of income for poor and middle class people throughout the world. The film sheds light on micro-loans, a Nobel Peace Prize winning idea, and their potential to change lives and communities by giving small loans to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Inspired action: Advocacy for micro-lending encouraged by Del micro al Cambio has led to ETL's support to Banco Esperanza, a women's micro lending organization in nearby Cold Spring, MN.
Watch our documentary Del Micro al Cambio.
With two successful documentaries completed, ETL members traveled to rural Uganda to understand the plight of child-headed families and how education at Hope Academy made a difference in their lives. Extending the LINK's third documentary, Essubi: Growing Up With Hope, was filmed in January of 2010 by six CSB/SJU students. The film focuses on teenagers in rural Uganda. These young adults become the primary caretakers of their families when their parents die of the AIDS epidemic, forcing them to sacrifice their education and provide food, housing and medical necessities to their younger siblings. Very often, the government and other organizations fail to notice struggling teenagers. Our documentary focuses on a few of these young Ugandans and organizations like the Uganda Rural Fund and Hope Integrated Academy that are actively working to break this damaging cycle.
Inspired action: The premiere of the film and a benefit concert helped ETL raise $1600 for the Academy. After the premiere, a group of inspired students set up a social enterprise selling jewelry made by students at Hope Academy. In December 2011, a second group of students from Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) will return to Uganda to film an update piece on Hope Academy and evaluate progress made in the past two years.
Watch our documentary Essubi: Growing up with Hope.
In January 2011, ETL members traveled to Nepal to examine human trafficking issues. The newest film features Padhma Creations, an innovative social venture that empowers human trafficking victims by providing knitting and business training. "Pragati," which means "progress" in Nepali, truly showed the progress occurring in Nepal, and generated discussions around human trafficking on campus, encouraged our community to buy Padhma products, and engaged CSB/SJU students in several volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations throughout Minnesota.
Inspired action: Padhma Creations products are available in CSB/SJU bookstores starting in Fall 2011; interns at Padhma Creations were recruited through CSB/SJU Career Services network. In 2011, ETL's work with Padhma Creations was also featured on Dosomething.org and in The New York Times.
Watch our documentary Pragati Nepal.
ETL captured young adults taking action to inspire change in their communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2012. Conflict surrounding politics and ethnicity that developed during the 1990s has had significant effects on life in Bosnia. Obnova identifies the history of the conflict and portrays the efforts made by the youth to promote peace and tolerance in the country.
Watch our documentary Obnova.
This documentary focuses on the pervasive, dehumanizing, relentless stigma regarding mental health concerns. Specifically, ETL takes a close look at how Angali Mental Health Rights Organization in Calcutta, India, combats such a stigma. This riveting film explores what can happen if charity starts in the home and how that can teach indivudals to respond to others with or without mental illnesses.
Watch our documentary Khulla.
ETL's seventh documentary highlights refugee issues, both in the United States and abroad. The team focused specifically on the Karen population, a group of people who live on the border of Burma and Thailand as a result of a drawn out civil war and genocide. ETL chose this topic because of the misunderstanding surrounding refugees and chose this population because of the large Karen refugee population that lives in the Twin Cities.
Watch our documentary Ger Kler.
ETL's latest project is regards Indigenous Issues specifically in relations to the Sámi people, the last recognized indigenous group in Europe.
Watch our documentary Obbasa Ain Gàllit