" Menen Hailu has given us the striking narratives of youth and women who live in striking poverty with bright smiles and courageous hope. She shines a light on important global issues so that we can understand how others live. "
- Deborah Santana, Author and Philanthropist
" Based on Menen’s excellent rapport with her interviewees, her film footage demystifies the stereotypes of street children and women survivors. Instead of the wretchedness we might expect from such a level of poverty, we find shared friendships, strategies for foraging and dreams of a future. "
- Mary Howard, Professor of Anthropology,
Ohio Wesleyan University
" In addition to their important subject matter and the sad condition of so many children around the world, the great advantage of Ms. Hailu's documentaries are their simplicity and her ability to have the victims, typically children, talk in a way that the rest of us can relate to. The documentaries also avoid rushing to solutions or appealing to one or another social analysis or ideology. This makes her work
excellent material for student discussions. "
- J. Paul Martin, Professor and Director, Human Rights Studies, Columbia University/ Barnard College
" The film is unusual in that it presents the children’s perspectives on their lives, their education, their work, their social networks and other aspects of their lives. Usually documentaries on children’s rights issues use experts to talk about the problems children face. They utilize a formula that audiences come to expect, but their potential for teaching is limited by their adult-centric and uniform presentation of the problems children face. They also present solutions that make audiences feel hopeful and encouraged by the progress made in this field, instead of showing the complexity of the challenges these children face and that there are no easy solutions. Menen’s work gets at the complexity and describes situations that have no easy solutions but in this way her film does a great service to the students’ educations. "
- Tracey Holland, Assistant Professor, Human Rights Studies,
Columbia University/ Vassar College
" The film provides a compelling portrait of the lives of women and children affected by the back-burnered HIV-AIDS epidemic. While the topic of HIV/AIDS is not new, so many aspects of Hailu's documentary are innovative. Young Voices, New Dreams ventures into the unvarnished reality of Ethiopia's so called "street children" and the biological and fictive kinships in which they are a part. Hailu unveils the lives of the film's subjects, allowing them narrative and interpretive control to such a degree that they emerge as complex, resilient, and fully formed personalities. The film provides startingly intimate human portraits."
-Judylyn S. Ryan, Ph.D., Associate Professor,
Ohio Wesleyan University