Tony Neeves - Director
Tony Neeves came of age in London's advertising world. But a dramatic conversion in 1969 led him to redirect his heart and his ambitions. Tony vowed to transform the way Christians communicate in the media. He helped found Tearfund, a Christian relief and development organization. He also set up his own ad agency, Greenleaf. And convicted of the biblical mandate to fight poverty and injustice, Tony has worked as a Vice President of Compassion International. For 35 years, Tony's primary passion has been to challenge and educate God's people by producing and directing award-winning documentary films for nonprofit organizations. 58: was born out of this passion to, as he says, "Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable."
Tim Neeves - Director
Tim Neeves was set for a career in classical composition, having studied under British greats Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sir George Benjamin. Then, on a life-changing trip to Uganda with his director dad, Tony, an encounter with a young AIDS victim changed everything. Within a week of submitting his final Master's portfolio, Tim was on a plane to Haiti armed with a camera, and Prospect Arts was born. Tim now has 70 overseas shoots under his belt, in such hotspots as Indonesia, Palestine and Rwanda. He frequently incorporates composition and performance into his productions. Tim describes 58: as "a fantastic opportunity to meet people living in the world's toughest circumstances and help them tell their stories."
Workitu - Ethiopia
Workitu is the mother of four. Like her neighbors, she has raised her family in a tiny hut built of mud and sticks. Her region of Ethiopia has suffered a five-year drought and her farm is barren. So Workitu gathers firewood to sell for pennies in a market that's two hours away on foot. But even firewood is scarce because of the degradation of the local environment. So Workitu's husband works far from home to bring back 20 to 30 birr (less than $1.70) every few months. Their income barely covers the cost of food and water for the children, who help gather wood. The nearby school, with its 30 birr entrance fee, is an unaffordable luxury. Workitu's fifth child - with whom she was visibly pregnant during filming - died a few days after birth. Yet she radiates dignity and deep faith. Her facial tattoos are a traditional emblem of beauty in her poor but close-knit community.
Alice Njoki - Kenya
Alice Njoki and her husband, James, moved to Mathare in search of a better life. But their rural upbringing didn't prepare them for the jungle that is Kenya's second-largest slum. Their scrap metal shack sits atop an open sewer. Disease, fire and violent crime plague the approximately 700,000 slum-dwellers. While Alice scavenges vegetables to resell in the street, violent gangs hustle drugs and alcohol. James works pushing a handcart - when he isn't laid low by alcohol and mental health problems. Alice fights her discouragement with a determination to return to her hometown for her family's sake. After filming, James gave his life to the Lord - and began the journey toward a healthier life. And the family returned to their hometown to work as farmers.
Bo Mann - USA
People like coffee, and people like to do good. So Bo Mann opened Wake Up Coffee on St. Simons Island, Georgia. The shop's mission is to provide great coffee while informing customers on issues of poverty and development. But Bo's mission - and that of his baristas, who all served in the mission field - is to create an inviting space where he can share his faith as well as his passion for justice. The shop has become a community hub, modeled after Bo's experience in the coffee shops of North Africa, where people gather to discuss the day's issues. He pledges a percentage of profits to charitable causes. And the shop organizes disaster relief efforts. As part of a new generation of socially and politically active young Christians, Bo takes inspiration from Micah 6:8 - to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
Chris Durso - USA
Some of the roughest neighborhoods anywhere are found around Christ Tabernacle in Queens, New York. Drugs, gangs and violence are epidemic. A high percentage of families rely on state welfare support. Around 70 percent of the youth group comes from unchurched homes. But Chris Durso, director of the church's Youth Explosion ministry, believes these young people can do remarkable things, despite their hardships. His mission is to make young people see that “God is freedom and not religion or law.” Hundreds of kids line up to join each week's meeting. A primary effort is a hunger and fasting campaign inspired by Isaiah 58. Chris wants to show his young people that when you give up something for another, God will always fill your needs - and there's always someone worse off whom you can help.
Sanjiv and Shivamma - India
Sanjiv and Shivamma are wage slaves. The couple, along with two of their five children, break stones in an illegal quarry, from sunrise to sunset, in the searing Bangalore heat. Their bondage is the result of debt incurred over the years - roughly $700. Though seemingly conquerable, it's an exorbitant sum for migrants from the Tamil Nadu region of India. In order to pay their daughter's wedding dowry - an inescapable cultural tradition - they took a loan from the quarry owner, indenturing the family. They also borrowed to buy the equipment needed to work the quarry. The high-interest debt surpasses their income and will be passed on to their children when they die. Since an education would cost 5,000 rupees ($112) a year each, the children are caught in the cycle of brutal, dangerous work. Although their love for their children is clear, Sanjiv and Shivamma have lost hope for them. And when the film crew returned for a second interview in July 2009, the family had vanished - most likely to another quarry, with their debt still in place.
Soundarya - India
Beloved daughter and only hope of her proud parents, Soundarya is a young teen with high hopes and a contagious zeal for life. She is breaking the cycle of poverty and hard manual labor that has plagued her family for generations. While her indentured father toils each day in the stone quarry, through sponsorship, Soundarya is able to attend a local school. The child development center provides Soundarya with additional tuition in all the major fields of study as well as dance, music and Bible studies. Her mother has been able to attend tailoring classes at the church and pursue an income for the family away from the chains of the quarry. Soundarya dreams of becoming a software engineer. Her determination is forged from the knowledge that she is one of the fortunate ones in her community. Her compassion for the needy around her - girls already sold into marriage, children breaking stones while she is at school - reflects a heart that knows things can and should be different.
Auri - Brazil
As a young man, Auri's dream had been to join the Army. After the death of his beloved father, young Auri slipped into alcohol and drug use. Soon his dream of military service was replaced by the harsh reality of membership in one of Brazil's deadliest gangs. A law unto themselves, the gangs administer street justice. Murder is a daily reality. For Auri, it was a case of kill or be killed. By 2002, drugs and drink had robbed Auri of his physical strength - and most of his teeth. As his gang lost power and influence, he was reduced to begging on the street. His girlfriend - and the mother of his daughter - left him. At rock bottom, Auri brought his big questions to God. Although many churches rejected this shell of a man, an accepting community helped Auri kick his addictions and earn his high school diploma. He is now married and studying for a bachelor's degree in theology in hopes of spreading grace among others who struggle with addiction.
Kirsty Munro - UK
Kirsty Munro was a London fashion college graduate alert to every trend. Money was no object where style was concerned. Her credit card bills were proof of that. But as a Christian, she began to feel convicted about the nature of her spending. This led her to cut up her credit cards in front of her church congregation and tackle the self-esteem issues at the root of her image consciousness. When Kirsty traveled to Kenya's Mathare slum, she encountered women who, despite incredible poverty, lived lives of beauty in God's love. Now, her changed spending habits enable her to invest financially in the lives of her friends in Mathare.
Pastor Joel Gitahi - Kenya
Joel Gitahi was raised in the hard-knock life of a Mathare slum-dweller. His father abandoned the family early on. His mother and 15 siblings bootlegged liquor from their two-room shack. Violence and drugs took the place of health care and education. But one evening at age 18, as Joel passed a rowdy church revival meeting, he felt compelled to join in. Now age 50, he is known as Pastor Joel, and that very congregation, Redeemed Gospel Church, is his flock. After his conversion, Joel studied to become a construction engineer and eventually ran his own construction company. As a professional, he easily could have escaped the Mathare slum. Instead, Joel works to clothe and feed - physically and spiritually - those in need. His community helps provide fellow slum-dwellers the health care and education that Joel once lacked. Since filming, a partnership with Christ Church of Tunbridge Wells, UK, has helped Pastor Joel purchase land to expand his church's facilities.
Dr Scott Todd is the Senior Ministry Advisor for Compassion International and one of the chief architects of 58. Combining his analytical background in academic research and immunology with his passion for the cause of Christ, he speaks plainly about what is possible when the Church bands together in strategic actions fuelled with compassion. He is a champion for the poor. An encourager of the Church. And a voice speaking to a new generation of Christians eager to make a difference.
Joel Edwards was the General Director of the Evangelical Alliance until the end of 2008. He is now International Director for Micah Challenge and is also a Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He is a regular presenter of ‘Thought For Today’, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
He is passionate about tackling the problem of poverty. Recently he has completed a new film resource, ‘The Jesus Agenda’ which is to be released in the Spring of 2011.
Follow his blow at www.micahchallenge.org/beinformed/joelsblog
Working for nearly 20 years with young people in the area, his initiatives have been particularly directed at those who are traditionally hard to reach, in prison or from disadvantaged communities. In recognition for his services to young people, he was awarded the OBE in 2011.
In the early days of The Message, Andy was a member of the Christian band World Wide Message Tribe who had success in the UK and American pop charts.
He is a popular speaker at New Wine, Soul Survivor, Keswick Convention, and other Christian conferences in the UK. With Mike Pilavachi from Soul Survivor and Roy Crowne of YFC, he was one of the founders of the Hope 08 and subsequent Hope Together initiatives.
Andy has visited many third world projects over the past 10 years, particularly Haiti with Compassion and has become an advocate and spokesperson on alleviating poverty.Andy is married to Michele and together they have two children, Sam and Beth.
This is the inspiring true story of the global Church in action. Witness bravery and determined faith in a journey from the slums of Kenya to the streets of New York. Confront the brutality of extreme poverty and meet those who live out the True Fast of Isaiah 58 and create stunning new possibilities for the future.
Travel from the sun-scorched plains of rural Ethiopia to British shopping centres, from Brazilian ganglands and the enslaving quarries of India to western churches, businesses and conferences.
58: invites audiences to discover the incredible work of God through his people in our hurting world. Meet ordinary people, hear their stories, and see their struggles and their victories as 58: shows the relentlessly loving God at work through his Church bringing hope to the darkest challenges of our day. Experience eye-opening reasons to lift our expectations of the future.
Woven with Biblical truth, this film draws audiences into life-changing examples of the True Fast of Isaiah 58 - a young British woman overcoming the pressures of consumer society, Ethiopian Christians working to restore their environment, an American business owner promoting Fair Trade coffee and connecting his local community with the work of ending poverty, a local pastor in India working to be a Good Samaritan to those enslaved by bonded labor, and the sacrificial generosity of New York youth giving up their own food for the sake of those with even less. These impatient revolutionaries and ordinary prophets present viewers with an empowering vision of the Church rising up to its remarkable potential to end extreme poverty, by bringing God's words through Isaiah to life in our time, in our day.
Compassion is an international Christian child development and child advocacy ministry. Partnering with local churches, we are committed to the spiritual, economic, social and physical development of children living in extreme poverty in 26 countries, enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.
Visit our site for more information and to sponsor a child today.
IJM seeks to make public justice systems work for victims of abuse and oppression who urgently need the protection of the law.
IJM investigators, lawyers and social workers intervene in individual cases of abuse in partnership with state and local authorities.
By pushing individual cases of abuse through the justice system from the investigative stage to the prosecutorial stage, IJM determines the specific source of corruption, lack of resources, or lack of good will in the system denying victims the protection of their legal systems. In collaboration with local authorities, IJM addresses these specific points of brokenness to meet the urgent needs of victims of injustice.
For more information visit ijmuk.org
More than 1 in 5 of the World's population lives on around $1 a day - that's about £20 a month. Invest that amount in the local church and become part of a movement of people committed to seeing poverty come to an end. The local church will always be there.
Use your voice and your choices to bring change. The technology we use is covered in the invisible fingerprints of the poor, who mine the resources needed to make them. Take action now to ensure that companies are honest about how much is paid to access these precious resources, empowering communities to hold their governments to account.
Extreme Poverty is defined as 'those living on less that $1.25 per day. Watch the Scott Todd video which explains the extent and scale of the problem. It also suggests Christians have an opportunity to make a meaningful and significant continuing impact. Scott illustrates the progress to date, particularly in recent times and a vision for the coming few years.
Compassion, IJM and Tearfund are organisations that work tirelessly amongst the poorest of the poor throughout the world. Each has distinctive and complimentary approaches that have been instrumental in successfully reducing poverty. Please use the links below to learn more about each of these and to learn how you can play a vital part in bringing an end to Extreme Poverty.