‘We wanted to bring lights into those Chibok families that had been dark’

 
Sat Jan 11th, 2020 - Borno
 

Some Chibok girls installing the solar kits


Few weeks after his Virtual Reality (VR) film, Daughter of Chibok, won the 2019 Lion Award for Best Story at the Venice International Film Festival in September, documentary filmmaker Joel Kachi Benson returned to Chibok community in Borno State to fulfill his promise of touching their lives positively. However, the charity project, which commenced with the distribute fertilizers, pesticides, and ox-driven plows to the villagers, took a different turn when the team resolved to light up Chibok community with solar power. In this interview with CHUKS NWANNE , Benson spoke about the initiative and how it has impacted the community.

What informed your decision to return to Chibok for this charity project, especially the Light Up Chibok campaign?
Well, what happened was that the original concept we had was to make the film, show it to well meaning Nigerians and see how we can get support to do what we wanted to do; to make impact in the lives of these women in Chibok. So, I had the opportunity to show this film to a lady called Damilola Ogunbiyi, which incidentally was the person that got me into Virtual Reality in the first place. After she watched the film, she said, ‘I must do something about this.’ I asked her what she would love to do for them and she asked if they have power in Chibok, I said, ‘No, they don’t have power.’

So, Chibok community is without electricity?
There’s no power in Chibok. In fact, the women have to trek to the village centre to charge their phones and they have to pay to do so. People that run small businesses and have small generators have charging points; there’s a business of charging phones in Chibok. In the evening, the place looks like a Christmas tree with people’s batteries charging. When I told her they don’t have power, she just called me and said she would send me 120 portable solar kits; I didn’t believe it. In fact, I didn’t want to tell anybody so I won’t jinx it; I just kept my cool until the thing landed in our office. We opened the cartons and the things were there. I was like, ‘guys, let’s go light up Chibok.’

 
 

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source: Guardian