Rafea: Solar Mama

A Bedouin woman studying solar engineering must navigate the pressures of her husband

2012 | Running Time: 75 minutes | Rating: NR

Rafea is a Bedouin mother of four from the Jordanian desert, the second wife to a husband who strongly believes in patriarchal authority. The documentary chronicles Rafea’s journey to India to attend the Barefoot College, a six-month training program for women from poor communities around the world to learn solar engineering. Her husband, however, is unsupportive. Unhappy with Rafea’s continued absence, he forces her to return to Jordan before the training is complete. Rafea must navigate pressures from her husband as well as the pressures from the larger community who want solar power installed in the village and decide whether or not to return to India to complete the course. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Directors: Mona Eldaief, Jehane Noujaim; Producer: Mette Heide; Executive Producers: Don Edkins, Nick Fraser, Mette Hoffman Meyer, Badr Jafar, Mike Lerner, Regina K. Scully, Lekha Singh

Cinema Eye Honors Awards 2014: The Unforgettables
Cinema Eye Honors Awards 2014: Cinema Eye Audience Choice Prize (nomination)
DOC NYC 2012: Audience Award
DOC NYC 2012: Viewfinders Grand Jury Prize (nomination)
International Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival 2012: Best Documentary
Munich International Documentary Festival 2013: Viktor Award (nomination)
Sheffield International Documentary Festival 2013: Best Female-Directed Film

“An inspiring documentary about women’s empowerment.”