A couple of weeks ago, I attended the premiere showing of Saving the Disposable Ones by British filmmaker Stuart Tanner who is head of the film department at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. Produced by The David Lynch Foundation in conjunction with Hollywood producer Joanna Plafsky, Tanner’s documentary covers the work of Father Gabriel Mejia rescuing homeless children from the streets of Medillin, the infamous capital of the drug cartels in Columbia. Dismissed as ‘the disposable ones’, they are frequently subject to physical and sexual abuse. Children as young as six fall into prostitution; many seek relief by sniffing glue and drug abuse.
Father Gabriel opened the first Center de Foundacion Claritianos in 1981, in order to offer free meals and a secure place for the children to sleep. His philosophy is very much based on love, which he believes "is the imperial medicine for any illness or disorder." "When a child feels they are welcome, when a child feels an educator is concerned about them," he says, "the child who came from violence and hostility of the streets, from being mistreated and who became aggressive, they change. The child changes." In the late 1980’s, he began using Transcendental Meditation to help them combat the stress they suffer living rough on the streets.
The film shows how the potent combination of loving care the children receive from Father Gabriel and his fellow workers and the inner peace they find in meditation can produce miracles. Over the years, hundreds of these so-called "disposable ones" have turned their lives around. Many have gone on to receive college educations; several hold high positions in Columbian society. Centers have now been established in cities throughout the country.
Father Gabriel believes we should "globalize love" to cure the many problems we face in the world today. I can’t help thinking it might be a more useful product to spread worldwide than the latest violent video game or pair of designer jeans made in a Third World sweatshop.
At the party after the film’s showing, I was chatting with producer Joanna Plafski. "All my work up to now have been purely to provide entertainment. But making something that does good, it just feels fantastic," she said as a beaming smile spread across her face.
You can watch an extended trailer for the film at the David Lunch Foundation website http://dlf.tv/ where there is also a link to donate to this and other ongoing programs to help children around the world. An interview with filmmakers Stuart Tanner and Joanna Plafsky is planned for the June issue of The Source.