Mercy’s Blessing Schools & Universities

Luxembourg, 2017- presentLuxembourg Government creates campaign around ‘Mercy’s Blessing’ to raise awareness in high schools

The government of Luxembourg and Unity Foundation created a campaign to use Mercy’s Blessing in high schools in Luxembourg. The film is used to raise awareness among the students about the purpose of education and social and economic development. The students learn how education gives them the tools to develop their capacities to become agents of positive social change. The campaign has been running for three years and has expanded to community settings. The campaign is co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

South Africa, 2017-2019Hundreds of students explore gender equality and power of choices

Over the past four years, hundreds of students at various schools across KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa have screened Mercy’s Blessing as part of International Women’s Day events. After exploring some workshop questions, the students came up with practical steps they could take as individuals to foster the equality and the upliftment of women and girls. Both male and female students felt that universal education was the key to alleviate poverty and patriarchal problems facing society.

The Netherlands, 2018High school integrates ‘Mercy’s Blessing’ into curriculum

Following one teacher’s initiative to use the film in her classroom, a high school in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, has integrated Mercy’s Blessing into its curriculum for high school students aged 15 to 17. Students watch the film and explore the themes it raises over a series of lessons. Discussions cover the importance of education, gender equality and the role of men and boys, justice, double standards and privilege. As part of the lessons, the students write reflection papers. One student commented: “I think the film Mercy’s Blessing is a must for all secondary schools.”

Malawi, 2019450 girls empowered to stay in school

A special screening of Mercy’s Blessing was held with a group of 450 girls at a secondary school in Lilongwe, Malawi 2019. The discussion was facilitated by Febbie Mzungu, who plays the mother in the film. The discussion created a space where the girls felt excited to engage, especially because both the context and the content deeply resonated with them. The girls commented on the sense of agency that is created as a result of having an education, and the power that comes with the ability and choice to make decisions. They reflected on the complexity of the choices that the characters in the film have to make, and spoke of the options and choices in life that they had not considered before. All were empowered to make choices in order to stay in school and finish their education.

The Netherlands, 2019Business University uses ‘Mercy’s Blessing’ as part of their MBA program

Professors in business ethics and sustainability at the Nyenrode University in the Netherlands have integrated Mercy’s Blessing as part of their MBA programme to encourage experienced business leaders and entrepreneurs to reflect on their own realities and the contributions they can make to society.

Zambia 201790 girls explore the role of choice and decision making

In Chisamba, Zambia, 90 students at a girls’ school watched Mercy’s Blessing to celebrate Youth Day. After the screening they split up into groups and enthusiasti- cally explored the themes from the Workshop Questions. They discussed the role of choice in their lives and the responsibility they each have in making decisions that will determine their futures.

rwanda, 2018Students use ‘Mercy’s Blessing’ to reflect on their lives

In a high school in Kigali, Rwanda, 8 classes (around 120 students) watched Mercy’s Blessing in their classrooms. The students participated with interest and enthusiasm in the discussions that followed the screening. They identified and explored different themes from the film that related to their own lives, such as choice, poverty, education, prejudice, trust, dreams, and equality. They reflected on their own circumstances and what can be done to overcome the challenges and problems they are facing.

Australia, 2017Students promoting social awareness and justice

In Melbourne, Australia, students aged 10 to 12 watched Mercy’s Blessing as part of their studies in promoting social awareness and justice. The film’s director, May Taherzadeh, video-called into the class to ‘meet’ the students and answer their questions.

Suriname, 2018Students discuss gender equality and the right to education

After Mercy’s Blessing was screened during a Master’s Degree class at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, an individual took the film to her native Suriname to show it at a high school. The film was screened in Paramaribo, Suriname, with eight classes over three days and the responses were immensely uplifting and stimulating. The students, teachers and principal later engaged in meaningful discussions on the relevant themes such as the right to education, gender inequality, child marriage, teenage pregnancies, and poverty.

Cyprus, 2017University uses ‘Mercy’s Blessing’ to reflect on the purpose of film

About 90 students and faculty members at the Near East University in Lefkosa, Cyprus, watched Mercy’s Blessing on International Women’s Day. Discussions explored questions such as, ‘What is the purpose of these kinds of films?’ and ‘What role can films play in transforming culture?’

Brazil, 2018‘Mercy’s Blessing’ film director addresses 600 school directors and coordinators

In São Paulo, Mercy’s Blessing film director May Taherzadeh was the keynote speaker at one of the largest school expositions in Brazil, ClassUP – Escolas Exponenciais 2018. Mercy’s Blessing was screened for the 600 school directors and coordinators. Taherzadeh spoke about the power of film and how Mercy’s Blessing can be used in the classroom and communities to inspire change. She travelled for 2 weeks throughout São Paulo and Brasilia visiting schools, universities, government institutions, and NGOs to screen the film and hold discussions.

Costa Rica, 2016-2019University Students explore the role that men can play in gender equality

Over the past 3 years at the United Nations mandated University of Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica, students watched Mercy’s Blessing as part of events such as International Women’s Day and Africa Week. One student shared, “The movie clearly showed that the effort to elevate the plight of women shouldn’t exclude the important role men can play in such a movement.”

the Netherlands, 2018Project Day for 400 high school students

In Nieuwegein, the Netherlands, 400 high school students watched Mercy’s Blessing as part of their Model United Nations (MUN) Day. The film’s director May Taherzadeh held a Q&A session with the students. For their MUN class, students identified issues raised in the film, formed committees, and wrote resolutions on the problems.

Brazil, 2017Brazilian Government creates campaign around ‘Mercy’s Blessing’ to reduce high school drop outs

One of the biggest challenges in Brazil is high school dropouts. In São Paulo, the government collaborated with ClassApp to create a campaign using Mercy’s Blessing. They showed the film in nine high schools in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, reaching 9,000 students. The film helped to raise awareness and create discussions among the students about the choices they are making in their lives, the purpose of their education, and using their capacities for service to humanity.

The campaign included a competition where students created short films for social media to highlighting the issue and to inspire former students to return to their education. The impact of the film was measured over a year and resulted in many students returning to complete their education and for those who had considered dropping out to remain.

Due to the success of the campaign, the government has recommended all schools in the São Paulo metropolitan area to use Mercy’s Blessing as a tool to reduce high school dropouts.