Following up on the success of Living with Lyme Disease, which aired on RTE in November, local presenter and producer Brian Hurley teamed up with Kerry based director and cinematographer Malcolm Willis to make a documentary featuring a Tanzanian orphanage, Tír na nÓg. The film crew who were entirely Kerry based, flew to Africa in April and spent two weeks filming near Mount Kilimanjaro.
The orphanage was established in 2007 by Tralee native, Louise Quill, who recognised the need for a caring and safe environment where orphaned children could grow up and receive an education. Tir na nOg now consists of a kindergarten, a primary school with 200 children in attendance, a farm to create sustainability and an orphanage that is home to almost 60 children.
The film crew examined the sometimes harrowing journey some of the children make prior to arriving at the orphanage and followed their development over the last ten years. Producer Brian Hurley commented: "It is a testament to Louise, the staff, volunteers and the generous support of Irish people that these children's lives have been irrevocably changed for the better as a result of the Tír na Nog orphanage. Some of the children’s stories are heart wrenching and need to be told as a reminder of the challenges we still face in human society, but also we need to show how lives can be positively altered through the power of goodness and charity."
The Tir Na Nog orphanage is designed to house thirty orphans, but the demand which is ever increasing now means that over fifty children reside in cramped conditions. Louise is currently trying to raise funds to build a new orphanage on a site they own next to their school building. It is hoped that this moving documentary, which was funded through the support of many donors including Bon Secours Hospital Tralee and the goodwill of the documentary team, will assist with efforts underway to raise money for the development whilst also trying to support the day to day costs of running an orphanage and school. The producers have been engaging with Irish broadcasters with a view to securing broadcast of the documentary soon.