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“Stateless: Forgotten Children” – Launch


Sharmila Sekaran, VoC Chair

On February 20, VoC successfully launched its documentary, Stateless: Forgotten Children. In attendance was our special guest, Deborah Priya Henry together with our chair, Sharmila Sekaran, deputy chair, Tini Zaiuddin and 65 of VoC friends and supporters.  After registration and refreshments the evening started with Sharmila Sekaran’s speech followed by Deborah Priya Henry.

In her speech Sharmila highlighted the need to find out how children become stateless in Malaysia.  She emphasized the importance of not addressing this issue with a race or ethnicity based lens but more on a child ties to the land, to then seek ways of obtaining citizenship.  You can listen to Sharmila’s full speech here.

Deborah Priya Henry stressed the importance of education for all children in helping them to realize their dreams to live a full life.  She talked about her work at Fugee School, a school she cofounded for Somali refugees, and the challenges faced in making this project a success.  She said that it is with “all of us coming together, becoming a community fighting the same cause (that) we can find the ways to do the right thing which is to give everyone the right to live a very full life, right here in Malaysia and all around the world”.  You can listen to Deborah’s full speech here.


Deborah Priya Henry and VoC Vice Chair, Tini Zainuddin

Following the screening of the documentary there was a lively Q&A session.  The audience was very moved by the documentary and remained engaged in intense conversations much after the end of the Q&A session.

When asked about his experience in making this documentary the Director, Jules Ong said, “It was humbling and moving for me to meet the children and families who are victims of circumstances. I was particularly moved by their fortitude to survive, their longing to find a safe place to belong.  It both angers and saddens me that one piece of paper can make a difference between a child having an education or not, between privilege and poverty, and even between life and death”.

The documentary will be available on DVD by the end of March.

If you have missed the trailer of the documentary you can watch it here and see some pictures from our launch here.

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