Shima, 8 years old, a film by Out of Focus

June 2005 -

'My name is Shima. My mum takes me to the flower market in the morning. Then sends me back to have breakfast. After that she gives me the bouquets she makes to sell. I come back home at 2pm then go to school from 3 to 5 pm. After that I go back to sell flowers. When the selling gets low, my mother gets mad at me. I want to be educated and make my flower shop bigger. When I receive an education I can learn to use a sewing machine, or even a computer.'


Still from Shima

A computer is a far cry for 8 year old Shima and her younger sister Rima in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her 'flower shop' is a space on the footpath, near the roundabout at the Sonargaon Hotel. As her mother admits, 'They have to earn money for themselves. Shima and Ruma run the family. What can be done? They sell flowers and miss out on school. They want to study. But food is our priority. So they sell flowers and earn for the family.'

This tender but matter of fact film was made three years ago by Rabeya, Sopna and Dadon of the 'Out of Focus' group, a group of underprivileged girls and boys engaged in photography. These three children can relate to the life that Shima leads. [datum] The film was awarded the Meena Award by UNICEF for the best film in the 'under 18s' category. Though their basic photographic skills were developed by Drik, Laurent van Lancker of Polymorfilms introduced them to film making.

Rabeya is now studying for a BA in photography at Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography. He is supported by the Pratichi Trust which was set up by Amartya Sen. Rabeya works in the AV department at Drik. Sopna works in the Internet Department at Drik while Dadon works in the gallery. Shima is still selling flowers at her 'flower shop'. She still dreams of being able to use a computer.

8 minutes 27 seconds. Mini DV. PAL.