“I have dreams, but they will never come true,” an adolescent boy says of his indentured servitude, in an upcoming documentary. “So let me have no dreams at all.”
This is just one of the heartbreaking stories showcased in the documentary “58,” which will premiere in 51 cities across the country Thursday. The White House held a movie screening of "58" for evangelical leaders, including the head of World Vision and Compassion, on Tuesday evening in the auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building located next to the West Wing.
The film goes on to relate that the boy’s father, Sanjiv, is a wage slave in Bangalore, India, who sweats from sunrise to sundown breaking stones in an illegal quarry. Trapped in a debt he cannot repay, Sanjiv grieves the fact that he cannot give his children food to eat, much less a proper education.
The debt will always be with him, Sanjiv says, and it will be passed down to his children, continuing the cycle of poverty.
“58” was produced and directed by father-and-son team Tony and Tim Neeves. It follows nine people, from all over the world, documenting their daily life in poverty. The film also spotlights the “Good Samaritan” Christian leaders who have chosen to help alleviate the dire situation.
At the end of the film, the viewers are left with one question: “Will I do everything I can to end global poverty?”
The movie’s title references the book of Isaiah, chapter 58, which calls for believers to help the downtrodden and put aside pious pretentions.
The people in the film, such as Kirsty Munro from the United Kingdom, remind Western Christians just how easy it is to be pious and put their faith in material things. However, on screen, Munro says she began feeling God move in her life and felt the need to take a trip to Kenya. In one of Kenya’s poorest slums she fell in love with the people she met and decided to do what she felt Christ would do: give her financial support to all that she could.
“58” was financed by Compassion International, a worldwide ministry organization. It highlights the greater “58” movement sponsored by Compassion that motivates and guides believers on how to do their part in alleviating poverty.
Approximately 925 million people do not have enough to eat in 2011, according to The World Hunger Education Service. Of this number, two-thirds live in seven countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. The “58” movement seeks to connect believers with financial means to impoverished people all over the world, especially in the seven countries where the need is great.
Wess Stafford, Compassion’s president and CEO, makes several appearances in the film, urging viewers to believe that eradicating global poverty is possible. In approximately 20 years, according to Stafford, global poverty has been cut in half. Stafford believes God has given Western Christians the financial capital to ameliorate the dire living situations that many face all around the world.