The Success: the Oscar, Unicef, the tour, spine surgery…
The story continues…
Prudence’s life has been quite a roller coaster ride since Music by Prudence won the Academy Award. Liyana, Prudence’s band, said it best in their official Press Release just after the Oscar win: “Everyone at KGVI was so proud to see Prudence there, representing herself, Liyana, her school as well as the disabled people of Zimbabwe and indeed Zimbabwe itself!” After the Oscars, Prudence returned home to literally a hero’s welcome.
From Zimbabwe to the White House
Prudence came back to America soon after, for a whirlwind tour put together for her by director Roger Ross Williams. Together they traveled to Baltimore; Washington DC; Telluride, and New York City.
She was the center of attention at the HBO premiere, recorded music and performed, and visited the White House.
Star and Unicef Goodwill Ambassador
Prudence performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC before 2,000 people, at the opening night of the Very Special Arts Festival.
Since returning back to Zimbabwe, Prudence and her school, King George VI, have been working with UNICEF, and Prudence has been appointed Unicef’s National Goodwill Ambassador.
Prudence was a special guests at the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, when she met Dr. Rick Hodes, a doctor who helps facilitate spinal surgeries for children with crooked backs. He examined Prudence, who was having a harder time breathing as her collapsing spine wore on her lungs.
This eventually led to major surgery in Denver at the Children’s Hospital, performed by Dr. Mark Erickson. After five months of surgery and rehabilitation in Denver, Prudence can now finally sit up straight in her wheelchair!
“I didn’t believe I would get to a place where people have such full love and care,” Prudence said about all the people in Colorado who’ve made this huge improvement possible.
With the generous help and support of Human Rights Watch, Music by Prudence has become the cornerstone of an advocacy campaign and has been embraced by disability organizations across the globe, including The World Bank, UNICEF and the United Nations.
Thanks to a generous grant from The Fledgling Fund, an advocacy and outreach website was launched. As a result, the film has been screening to packed theaters, schools, and colleges across the country.
Listen to the voices
Prudence’s story has made a difference. Or, as Shantha Rau Barriga, researcher/advocate on Disability Rights at Human Rights Watch, said it best:
“In order for us to change the way we think about disability, we need to listen to the voices and perspectives of persons with disabilities themselves. Voices like that of Prudence.”
– Carson Daly, Last Call with Carson Daly
“This documentary about a Zimbabwean school for children with disabilities and the Afro-fusion band they form is nothing short of inspirational”
– Entertainment Weekly