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The First Grader

by Justin Chadwick

The First Grader film poster
Runtime: 103′

To mark International Literacy Day, Ciné-ONU and the Goethe-Institut invite you to the screening of “The First Grader”.

In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge, an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied – even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds.

This critically acclaimed film, starring Oliver Litondo and Naomi Harris, has been included in the official selections of the Telluride, Toronto International, London, and Durban International film festivals.

The film was followed by a Q&A, with:

  • Dr. Obdaiah Mailafia (The African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States Secretariat)
  • Ms. Jeniffer Njiru (Embassy of the Republic of Kenya)
  • Ms. Marie-Paule Roudil (UNESCO Representative to the EU)
  • Ms. Joanna Maycock (Head of Europe, ActionAid)

Kimani Maruge’s visit to the Millennium Development Goals Summit at UN HQ in New York, 2005, sponsored by Action Aid:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4244520.stm (BBC News website)

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