Mburu, now an esteemed United Nations human rights advocate, grew up in an impoverished household in rural Kenya. He was a bright, studious child whose family couldn't pay for his education. Luckily, a Swedish teacher named Hilde Back decided to donate $15 per month to educate a child in Kenya. Chris Mburu was that child. Now he's determined to pay forward Back's generosity by covering the costs of other kids' education.
Finding A Way To Pay It Forward
We follow three remarkably engaging students -- Kimani, Ruth and Caroline, ranking first, second and third in their class -- who can't go to high school without sponsorship. Although the kids are in competition with each other for a scholarship they desperately want because they know it will lift them and their families out of poverty, they're also good friends who generously help each other. Picking one of them over the others seems an impossible task. But the Hilde Back Education Fund has high standards and limited resources. So there's an element of suspense -- and potential heartbreak -- about who'll benefit from this year's small act of kindness.
In a second story line, we learn how Mburu located his benefactor in Sweden, and became friends with her. Back is utterly charming, fascinating and demure. Her story, as it turns out, is as moving as Mburu's. She was born in Germany, where she, a young Jewish girl, was persecuted by the Nazis, and denied an education. She fled to Sweden, leaving behind her parents who could not get visas. They were Holocaust victims. She never saw them again. Yet, she had the heart to sponsor a Kenyan child's education. Mburu's tribute to Back brings her story full circle.
Great Storytelling and Honoring Context
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- Title: A Small Act
- Director: Jennifer Arnold
- Release Date: July, 2010 (HBO Broadcast)
- Running Time: 88 mins.
- Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
- Location: Kenya, Sweden, Switzerland
- Language: English, Kikuyu, Swedish, Swahili
- Production Country: USA
- Company: Considered Entertainment/HBO Documentaries
- Official Website