Meet Juneli, a young girl from Nepal who has epilepsy. Here she is on her wedding day – pictured second from the left in this beautiful photograph – together with her husband Madhav, her parents and her sister-in-day, as they pose for the wedding album. A charming family portrait.
Or is it? In truth all is not as it seems! Juneli isn’t getting married, in real life she doesn’t have epilepsy and none of the people in the wedding shot is related to her. Instead, these are all actors who took part in a docudrama made by Nepal Epilepsy Association supported by an IBE Promising Strategies Program grant.
And now that I have ruined it for you, by telling you how the plot ends, let’s return to the beginning and Act 1, Scene 1, Take 1!
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Despite the fact that Nepal has a wealth of cultural and natural diversity, up to 75% of the country’s population of 27 million people are still dependent on agriculture for a living and a significant percentage of people still lives below the poverty line.
Similar to the mean, approximately 1% of people in Nepal have epilepsy and many unrecorded deaths could be due to epilepsy and related diseases. Due to a shortage of health care centres, sufficient to meet needs, the majority of the population has no access to adequate healthcare.
With this background, the Nepal Epilepsy Association (NEA) produced a documentary that is providing a means of raising awareness through the media. The focus of the documentary is on the social stigma of epilepsy, its impact on society, and possible ways of prevention and treatment of the condition.
Post production, the story of Juneli was televised on a number of national television channels including the government-owned channel. The documentary is also shown to local people when they attend one of NEA’s free epilepsy camps or its epilepsy clinics, which are based in Lazimpat, Kathmandu and Dolakha.
The film tells the life story of a young girl who has epilepsy, from when she is a young child, through her school years, to her wedding day and early married life. There are two different actors to play the part of Juneli, as she grows from a young child to a mature and beautiful woman!
According to Nepal Epilepsy Association, this docudrama, highlighting epilepsy, is the first of its kind in Nepal.
About the Promising Strategies Program
Introduced six years ago, in 2006, the IBE Promising Strategies Program (PSP) provides its less well off members with financial support for projects aimed at improving the quality of life of people with epilepsy. To date, PSP has supported 70 projects in 37 countries around the world, with total financial support in excess of US$300,000. The most recent call for Letters of Intent, for funding in 2013, will close at the end of November 2012.