“A Journey of A Thousand Miles” follows a unit of one hundred and sixty women who, between June 2013 and July 2014, travel far from their families, friends and all that is familiar at home in Bangladesh to join the United Nations Stabilizing Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). They form one of the world’s first all female, predominantly Muslim peacekeeping units; shattering every stereotype the world holds about the capabilities of Muslim women.
The women – young and old, married and single, mothers and daughters – come from every corner of Bangladesh. The film focuses on three of women in this unit as they grapple with the harsh realities of becoming foot soldiers in a United Nations Peacekeeping Mission. Our cameras follow them from recruitment to the unit, into pre-deployment training, and throughout their yearlong tour of duty in Haiti. We see them confront extreme poverty, lagging healthcare systems, violent anti government protests and opposition to their very presence. Ultimately, the women rise to the occasion, providing essential community support to the region. While the women immerse themselves in their duties, intimate scenes of the families they love and left behind are woven throughout the film.
The film dramatically shows how this journey forever alters the lives of three courageous women and their families. Though faced with struggles abroad, the women are also given an authority and opportunity during deployment not yet possible in their own country. We witness first hand their return home and the subsequent reintegration into family life a process that is at once a relief and a profound challenge. “A Journey of A Thousand Miles” is a bold look at the women who make up this global force, going beyond the statistics and news stories to look at who these officers are on an individual level.
Through the organic unfolding of their experiences during this year, the documentary defies the way we look at women from developing nations and asks the difficult questions that must be considered to better the global effort to build peace.
April 8, 2015