New York – Wendy Williams has filmed the world’s least privileged people, in war and peace, in her documentary “A World of Pain”.
Williams, a former UN refugee, and her team of humanitarians are making the film in a bid to show that people can overcome poverty, trauma and war.
It is a story of how they have made it, and what it means to be a person in conflict.
Williams and her film crew are on a quest to uncover the hidden stories of ordinary people.
She told Al Jazeera: “The way we see the world, we tend to focus on the rich and powerful, but I think what we’re really seeing is people who are very vulnerable, who are really in pain, who have been through wars and are suffering all the time.”
Williams said she wanted to share her experiences, not just with the world but also with the people she knew.
The project is about her journey, she said, “to get to the point where I could actually tell my story and put myself on the line and show that it is possible.”
The project focuses on a group of people, including Williams, who she met as a refugee in Uganda in the early 1990s, when she was in school.
She was forced to flee the country after being attacked by government troops.
She returned to Uganda to study law, but found that many people were being left behind in the country.
She said: “When you see people, and they are being discriminated against or they are starving or they have no work and they’re living in the mud or the slums or in tents and you can see the desperation of it, you see it.
And that’s the way it really is.”
She said she came to see people as human beings.
“They have the ability to do something and to make a difference.”
The team is made up of Williams, her team and two of her friends, one of whom is her sister.
The team has travelled from Uganda to South Africa, Rwanda and Kenya, as well as across the Middle East, the Balkans, Asia and Africa.
Williams said: The goal was to have people tell their stories and show how they made it.
“If you have to go through war, you have a right to tell your story,” she said.
“That’s why I wanted to go to war.”
The story of poverty and war is one that has been told for decades, but is rarely told by the people who experience it.
The story is often told in terms of war, but the stories of the people on the front lines of the conflict are rarely told, even though those on the frontline are the most vulnerable people on earth.
Williams was one of the first people to be featured in the documentary “Waiting for the Light” in 2000.
She recalled how she and her colleagues were given the assignment of filming people from the streets of Kampala, Uganda.
“We’re going into a city, and people are being robbed, people are getting shot, they’re beaten and raped,” Williams said.
Williams’ team filmed the people, but it took months for them to be able to film the people themselves.
The footage they captured was so graphic that Williams said they realised “it was almost like we had to do a whole film”.
Williams and the team also filmed people living in remote villages in Rwanda.
She described how she realised that “in these villages, there is no hope.
There is nothing to lose.
You have no family, no friends.
Williams and some of the other people filming “Waiving for the Dark” said they were inspired by the stories told by some of those interviewed in the film, including survivors of genocide and war, the young people who were in the streets, and the children who have gone through extreme trauma. “
The only hope is to be rescued by the United Nations.”
Williams and some of the other people filming “Waiving for the Dark” said they were inspired by the stories told by some of those interviewed in the film, including survivors of genocide and war, the young people who were in the streets, and the children who have gone through extreme trauma.
“I just wanted to show you the people that we all share,” Williams told Al-Jazeera.
“You have to be there to make it through it.”
The documentary, “Waivering for the Lights”, airs on Al Jazeera America on Wednesday 20 November at 10.30am on BBC World Service.
Al Jazeera’s Suzanne Moore reports from New York.