Kenya disabilities film wins award

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Amnesty International awarded CNN for its 2009 documentary exposing the conditions of Kenya’s neglected population of three million people with mental disabilities.

The half-hour documentary, World’s Untold Stories: Locked up and Forgotten, portrays how this population is ostracized throughout Kenya, in its slums and in the remote villages throughout the countryside. Most of these people are deprived of medical care and therapy, and are hidden away from society. Less than one percent of the country’s health care budget is devoted to mental health.

Upon release, the film, created by CNN’s Nairobi correspondent David McKenzie, sparked awareness of the plight of Kenya’s people with mental disabilities. Leading human rights groups also became involved, calling the treatment of Kenya’s people with mental disabilities human rights abuses and pushing for government intervention.

“David McKenzie took an unknown story and brought it to the attention of the world, testament that hard hitting journalism can incite global change,” CNN International Managing Director Tony Maddox said in a CNN article. “It is an honor to have your journalism recognized by Amnesty International as powerful enough to truly make a difference.”