Why this is important to me?
My name is Kendra Oladipo, I am a graduate student at American University. Currently, I am working on a screenplay called Sundust. The story is about a young girl who wants to avenge her family after they were killed the militia. She pretends to be a boy, to join the militia and forms herself into a child soldier.
I started thinking about this story during my first year at American University. This story made me think of my parents, who are Nigerian immigrants that have lived through the Nigerian Civil War from 1967-1970. They came to the United States, where I was born along with my sisters and brother. My father is originally from Sierra Leone, and he moved away due to the war that was happening at the time in Sierra Leone. He and I never saw eye to eye, but I couldn’t help wondering why he is not an open person, and doesn’t talk about his past. After, I had sat down with my father, I create the story, Sundust. As a way of me being close to my father.
I grew up in a Nigeria- American household, I have always been fascinated with the topic of child soldiers. I have wondered what more people can do to ensure a child has a better life. During, my second year as undergraduate student at Gallaudet University. My professor presented a movie called, Angel in the Dust. When I first watched the movie, I felt that moved by the journey of those young children. I wanted to read more stories from a female perspective what her experience is like. A girl being taken from her home at the age of nine and focus to become soldiers. I have heard and seen many stories of young boys, rarely of young woman.
Often, people would think that only boys are taken and becoming more soldiers, but girls in the military are often overlooked. There are many stories of young girls being abducted from their homes. They would either become a babysitter, become a soldier, or forced into marrying one of the commanders. While my story is in that direction, I think it is essential for the audiences to see a female point-of-view.
The aftermath that women have experienced being in the military are often stereotypes, poverty, forgotten by the government that promise to help them, and no access to health care. Women would feel pressure to feel violence, commit suicide, or return to the bush (meaning the army).