Documentary: The Street Children of Kinshasha

In the spring of 2007, Gilbert Mulamba visited Illinois State University's Global Review series, to present his documentary The Street Children of Kinshasha. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo now working as a scientist in the United States, Gilbert went back to visit his home country and was horrified to see the terrible problem of street children there. Those of us who were at the Global Review that night were very moved by the images of the children living in desperate conditions in the streets of Kinshasha, the capital city. We learned that before Gilbert could publicly release his documentary, he needed help to obtain copyright permissions for some of the news footage he had used. That's where we came in.

In the spring of 2008, Global Children Outreach created a committee to help with the copyright permissions that Gilbert needed. They were responsible for having a thorough understanding of the fair use rules for documentaries and applying this knowledge to help determine what images in Gilbert Mulamba’s documentary were allowed under these rules . They worked on the list of images provided by Gilbert, which will help him to release this documentary worldwide.

Gilbert wrote the following about his experience with us:

"Following a successful screening of The Street Children of Kinshasa documentary at Illinois State University last September, Professor Maria Schmeeckle who teaches sociology graciously offered to provide help so I could position the film for licensing and distribution.

With her Global Children Outreach organization, Dr Schmeeckle’s scope is to help street children in various countries through creative service learning partnerships.¬† Last semester, dedicated students were enrolled in the “copyright committee” with the goal to help me with licensing issues. The group included Elizabeth Inks, Kimberly Janozik, Rachel Kohlbecker, and Elizabeth Strain. They met in class and also worked individually to educate themselves around the intricate issues regarding Fair Use.

With my traveling schedule and my career, it was a virtually impossible task for me to go through the long list of sources that I had used in the documentary. The copyright permission group came in at an appropriate time as I was receiving request from schools, organizations that were willing to purchase the documentary and add it to their libraries.

I provided a list of web sites for the pictures or images used in the film and the students emailed me either for more details or for a reference they could not find on the internet. By the end of the semester, the group was able to go through the list of references I had provided to them.  This collaborative work with students of ISU has directly impacted the promotion of the film. We are now re-editing minor sections of the documentary and redesigning the cover to make the film available soon.

I am at a loss of words for what the Copyright Committee accomplished. In essence, the students have extended their reach out to global children, in this case the street children of the DRC. I believe that by studying this documentary so closely, it might have impacted their lives as well for a commitment to issues affecting children in other parts of the world. My gratitude goes to Professor Schmeeckle and the Copyright permission group for their initiative."

-Gilbert Mulamba

In February of 2009, Gilbert was invited to show The Street Children of Kinshasa at the Pan Africa Film Festival in Culver City, California. Global Children Outreach was able to donate $200 toward Gilbert's travel expenses. To see a report from Gilbert about his experience at the film festival, click here.

cover for DVD: The Street Children of Kinshasa

Gilbert Mulamba's documentary, The Street Children of Kinshasa


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