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STORY

STORY

Rooting for Roona is a documentary that fights for the health of the Indian child and captures the incredible story of baby Roona Begum.   Tucked away in a neglected corner of the North East of India, 4 year old Roona suffers from Hydrocephalus, a birth defect caused by build-up of fluid in the brain leading to massive swelling of the head. Her parents Abdul and Fatema, who lead a hand-to-mouth existence, struggled to cope and understand what ailed their daughter. Their trips to state level government hospitals were in vain because these hospitals were poorly equipped to treat her. With no means to travel beyond their home state of Tripura, Abdul and Fatema were resigned to their daughter’s tragic fate.

“I didn't think of her as a sick child.”
I always thought she was really strong
to endure so much pain.

ABDUL
ROONA'S FATHER

Rooting for Roona is a documentary that fights for the health of the Indian child and captures the incredible story of baby Roona Begum.   Tucked away in a neglected corner of the North East of India, 4 year old Roona suffers from Hydrocephalus, a birth defect caused by build-up of fluid in the brain leading to massive swelling of the head. Her parents Abdul and Fatema, who lead a hand-to-mouth existence, struggled to cope and understand what ailed their daughter. Their trips to state level government hospitals were in vain because these hospitals were poorly equipped to treat her. With no means to travel beyond their home state of Tripura, Abdul and Fatema were resigned to their daughter’s tragic fate.

“I didn't think of her as a sick child.”
I always thought she was really strong to endure so much pain.

ABDUL
ROONA'S FATHER

Her fate changed when a photo-journalist in Roona’s hometown took a photo of her. Overnight, this powerful photograph went viral globally. It triggered an amazing chain of events that eventually resulted in Roona being admitted to one of India’s premier private hospitals in the nation’s capital New Delhi. Headlines across the world celebrated her journey to, hopefully, a more healthy life. Then the media frenzy settled down and the world moved on.   Thousands of children like Roona are born with congenital anomalies every day but are ignored because their stories are not deemed ‘sensational’ enough. Roona’s severe condition is a result of an underdeveloped healthcare system, general lack of awareness about preventative healthcare and inadequate basic knowledge about nutritional/hygiene needs. Roona received a second chance at life while others like her are sent home to wither in silence.   While Baby Roona continues to show unbelievable fortitude in her battle for a healthy life, this film explores what is being done to secure the health of the Indian child. Rooting for Roona is a story of struggle, survival and hope that urges audiences to invest in the most important part of our world – the Child.

Her fate changed when a photo-journalist in Roona’s hometown took a photo of her. Overnight, this powerful photograph went viral globally. It triggered an amazing chain of events that eventually resulted in Roona being admitted to one of India’s premier private hospitals in the nation’s capital New Delhi. Headlines across the world celebrated her journey to, hopefully, a more healthy life. Then the media frenzy settled down and the world moved on.   Thousands of children like Roona are born with congenital anomalies every day but are ignored because their stories are not deemed ‘sensational’ enough. Roona’s severe condition is a result of an underdeveloped healthcare system, general lack of awareness about preventative healthcare and inadequate basic knowledge about nutritional/hygiene needs. Roona received a second chance at life while others like her are sent home to wither in silence.   While Baby Roona continues to show unbelievable fortitude in her battle for a healthy life, this film explores what is being done to secure the health of the Indian child. Rooting for Roona is a story of struggle, survival and hope that urges audiences to invest in the most important part of our world – the Child.

CAUSE

THE REALITY

27 million children are born in India every year of which 1.5 million are born with birth defects. India accounts for the largest share of birth defects in the world. According to the March of Dimes report, 70% of birth defects can be prevented or mitigated. Both statistics and reality point to a system that is in dire need of reform.

THE VISION

- We will create a film that focuses on the health of the Indian child by bringing birth defects to the forefront and helps make it a priority amongst everyone from the general public to the policymakers at the highest level.   - We want to create public awareness and interest around the issue of congenital healthcare and launch an outreach movement.   - We will build a platform where global citizens can connect with specific organizations who are working in the space of child healthcare and birth defects to donate, volunteer and advocate.

MEET THE TEAM

CurleyStreet Media, the team behind the Rooting for Roona film is India’s first social justice film production house that has created award-winning documentaries on a range of socially relevant topics. Based out of Bangalore, India, the team comprises a group of young, dynamic and passionate individuals forged by a common dream of changing the world one frame at a time.

SEE OUR PAST WORK

ROOTERS FOR ROONA

We are grateful to the people who have supported us in the making of this film. Thank you for Rooting for Roona!

Vanita and Darren Boswell

Purna Bikkasani

Dr. Upendra

Brookefields

Courtney Rainwater

Faraz Khan

Leela and Hari Purugulla

L.P. Reddy

Murali Angirekula

Nancy Howard

Nathaniel Zilkha

Rajsekhar Mukkamala

Scott Whitworth

Sharmilee Thota

Theodore Lundberg

Toni and Tommy Boswell

Venu Gopal

Mohana M Shivashankar

GSUSA FDT 2014

Rachel Rajan

Ajay Shenoy

Gautam Kothiyal

Kruti Bharucha

Kushagra Pant

Lav & Arj

Manisha & Ajay

Matthew Rainwater

Niranj Thusu

Mohit Cheppudira

Venugopala Reddy

Eugene D'Souza

James Haddaway

Kunal Singal

Pankaj Prasad

Peter Sloan

Prashant Kelker

Rajesh K. V.

Rohit Marwaha

Sanjay Pamurthy

Shiva Dixit

Shunil

Tina Sekharan

Kunal Moktan

Meaghan Ritchey

Meenakshi Arun

Purab Kohli

Ranjana Thomas

Sujatha Premkumar

Ron Read

Farha

Charles Miranda

Vishal Asrani

Aditya Appaya

Alan Boswell

Anita Ramkumar

Anshumani Ruddra

Anuradha

Anusha Mahalingam

Arun Nair

Bernadette Jendrusch

Caitlin Behrman

Carol D'Souza

Chandini Chhabra

Cheryl Pipia

Colt Emswiler

Damodar Kanuri

Debbie Linehan

Gargi Chaudhuri

Gaurav Sadana

Gina Longo

Greg Behrman

Jay Kumar

Jyothis Gorge

Karthik V.

Kimberlee Salmond

Lanny Lancarte

Lisa G. Kohn

Madhuri Iyer

Manish Mohan

Maria Fuentes

Maria Redin

Michele Torzilli

Mithun Beerala

Nishant Bhatia

Pamela Brunger

Pratibha Koneru

Preeti John

Rajarshi Guha

Ram Swaminathan

Ranakumar Nadella

Remya Jayaram

Ritesh Purohit

Rohan D'Souza

Roohshad Garda

Sachin D'Souza

Sanchit Mullick

Sarah Gormley

Seema Sukumar

Sharath Chandra

Shilpa Shastri

Tirthankar Dash

Tushna and Shankar Narayan

Varatharajan Venkatraman

Vijay Das

Vijay Shankar

Vikram Fernandes

Yasmin Fodil

Zeenat Iqbal

Rohit B.

Shaan Libby

Shweta Subbiah

Vaibhav Mahajan

Kshitiz Manav

Nitin Bam

Abdul Raouf

AJ Sumithra

Akshara Raghavendra

Anjana

Antony George

Anup Annaya

Aparna Kurian

Arun Venkatachalam

Arya Etekar

Ashish Mehta

Brian Engelbert

Charmaine D'Souza

Claire

Daniel Boockvar

Dia Bangera

Dipti Ravichandran

Erin

Gaurav Sikka

Janet

Jayaram Rajaram

Julita

Karthik Mouli

Kavitha Babu

Kelly

Ketan C. Reddy

Kim Hangzo

Kim Noble

Kumudini

Liz P.

Lydia Francis

Mahita Geekie

Mansur Nazimuddin

Mario Antony Jayaprabhu

Michael Colquhoun

Michael Pereira

Michelle B.

Mohan Reddy

Neeraj Mehra

Nisha Chalam

Paul F. Capetillo

Prabhu Subramanian

Pritha Agarwal

Priyanka Chakrabarty

Queen

Rachel

Raghu Maligal Ganesh

Reshma Rahi

Rohit Paul

Sakhi G.

Satyaki Banerjee

Saurabh Adeeb

Seema Seth

Shalabh Gupta

Shamitha Sudheer

Shravanthi Gummadi

Sibin Mohan

Sophie McKane

Sreekanth

Steven Wong

Suzanne H.

Syed Sultan Ahmed

Thangamma Monnappa

Vishal Lunker

Dilip Nazareth

Kalyani Anish

Kartik Shivkumar

Nilesh Shahapurkar

Sandeep Atmaram

Gulabi Hassan

Jessica Worchel

Manjunath

Monish Thomas

Priti Sen Arora

Bono

Anand Fernades

Archana Handa

Arvind Jujare

Edgar Fernandes

Erin Schenk

Lopa Sarkar

Pooja Shankat

Pradeep Kamath

Shashi

Shivani Smith

Shivram Aiyyagiri

Abhishek Singh

Amit Dev

Amit Popat

Ankit Chandra

Antara Sara

Apollo and Anu

Arshad Kunnummal

Bhagirath Iyer

Bhamini Bopanna

Celine Modschiedler

Deepthi Bopaiah

Deepti Ganapathy

Ed

Gunaseela Pandiyan

Karen Moreira

Kathy Stokes

Kirti Rao

Kunal Sharma

Manish Kapoor

Marian

Mayura Balasubramanium

Meg Kishore

Minal Karumbaya

Naidu

Natasha Pai

Nicha Suebwonglee

Nishad Majumdar

Nishant Lakshman

Nitin Mathur

Pet Stepin

Pooja Reddy

Rahul Papali

Rajarshee Dutta

Rima Aranha

Rohan Abraham

Rohith Murthy

Roshan Warrier

Ruchi D.

Rupayan Chatterjee

Ruwanee

Sabita Nadesan

Satvik Srivastava

Subhash Koppula

Suma Boby

Sunitha Suresh Babu

Thahirunisa Tajudeen

Vaishnavi Tekumalla

Venky

Kartik Agarwal

Aanya Sharan

Adwait Gore

Aishwarya Krishnakumar

Ajay Salanky

Amit Kohli

Anjali Balagopal

Ankit Sheth

Aparna Jandhyala

Arjun V. Maroli

Ashish Mahendra

Atul Chandra

Avkash Upendra

Badri Vishal

Chitra Raghavan

Darius Taraporvala

David Leong

Deb Taft

Dennis Price

Dev Pathi

Dilber and Silvansus Sunil

Dipanshu Behl

Ekam Ahluwalia

Elvin Lonan

Grant Garrison

Hakim Abdullah

Hakimulla Habibullah

Harishri Babuji

Ishani Appaya

Julian Chou-Lambert

Karthik Raman

Kavita Ramesh

Krithika Kariappa

Mahrukh Nazir

Malavika Siddharth

Mamata Sudhakar

Manish C. Pole

Manoj Menon

Meghna Jacob

Melissa Bonne

Milan Dalwani

Milan Vohra

Mod

Monish Akbar

Monu Agrwala

Murtuza Lokhandwala

Nalini Ravishankar

Nancy Vaddi

Naomi

Narasimha Pai

Neenu Jacob

Nicola Bingham

Nishant Thomas

Nitya Rao

Nivriti Lal

Parvathi Menon

Pavithra K. Raja

Preeti Chandrasekharan

Priyank Porwal

Priyanka Singh

Rahul

Rahul D. Bangera

Rahul Kudva

Rajesh Mehar

Ramya Shankar

Ranjeet Ramakrishnan

Rashmi Marwah

Rashmi Somaji

Rasika Iyer

Rehan Habeeb

Ritu Mirakhur

Ronita Shambaya

Sameer Akbar

Samrendra Sarin

Samyukta Lakshmi

Sandeep and Goldie

Sandeep Dhaliwal

Satyendra Thakur

Shihas

Shivani

Siddharth Abraham

Smriti Achutan

Sojan Alby Verhghese

Srikanth Chandrasekhar

Subhashini Chalam

Sujit Pavithran

Sukanya Sen

Sunil J. Mathew

Suraj Omprakash

Susan Alexander

Swapnil Landge

Swaraj Barooah

Syed Basheer Ahmed Malik

Tanarra Schneider

Teena Aiyana

Trupti Chengalath

Tushna Nazir

Uday

Veronica and Jeremy Otter

Vinamra Santosh

Vinita Singh

Yashika Muthupana

Prasenjit Das

Rajeev Ravindranathan

Anitha Majji

Ashish Mishra

Kanika Pandey

Karunakara Kudupu

Ninan

Saabira Chaudhari

Sandra Michieles

Utham Reddy

PARTNER

ORGANISATIONS

PARTNER

ORGANISATIONS

THE JOURNEY

  1. Tripura

    Baby Roona is born in Jirania Khola, a tiny village in Tripura.

  2. Delhi

    CurleyStreet Media comes across Roona's story in an AFP report. Touched by the sheer resilience of Baby Roona and her young parents, we strive to bring this story of hope before the eyes of the world. Within 24 hours the team is by her side.

  3. New Delhi

    Roona undergoes her first round of major surgeries. The first steps towards recovery are successful, as the little trouper comes out stronger, healthier and smiling like the angel that she is.

  4. New Delhi

    Team CurleyStreet resolves to get to the heart of the issue and begins to engage with doctors and medical experts from private and government hospitals in Delhi, healthcare camps, clinics and NGOs that work in the healthcare sector.

  5. Bangalore

    Team CurleyStreet launches a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo so that people the world over can participate in the making of this film and become part of the force that brings change where it is needed the most. By the end of the campaign we raise around 32000 USD, becoming India’s largest crowdfunding campaign for a non-fiction film. Just before Eid, Baby Roona is finally released from the hospital in Delhi as the team accompanies a much improved Roona and relieved parents back to Tripura, for a tearful yet joyous homecoming.

  6. Chamrajnagar, Karnataka

    We travel to Chamarajanagar in Karnataka in October 2013 to document the healthcare facilities provided in remote rural areas and the role of technology in improving these facilities.

  7. Gudalur, Tamil Nadu

    Team CurleyStreet travels to Tamil Nadu to document the role of community in implementing better healthcare management among tribal populations in Gudalur.

  8. Mumbai

    The film’s directors Pavitra Chalam and Akshay Shankar present Rooting for Roona'  at GoodPitch India, 2014 in Mumbai. GoodPitch is a documentary-pitching forum which is a project of The BRITDOC Foundation in partnership with The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, supported by the Ford Foundation. Their aim is to connect what they consider the world's best social justice films with new allies and partners. RFR was one among only 6 films selected for the prestigious event.

  9. Near Agartala, Tripura

    CurleyStreet Media travels back to Tripura to witness a much healthier and happier Roona. We spent three weeks among the sands and trees of Tripura which helped us in understanding the healthcare facilities better in the area.

  10. Trivandrum, Kerala

    CurleyStreet crew travels to Trivandrum to cover the amazing work done by Pallium India, an organization that specializes in palliative care. Pallium works with children and adults with life-limiting and disabling diseases in order to improve quality of life, treat pain and provide emotional, social and spiritual support.

  11. Amsterdam, Netherlands

    CurleyStreet travels to Amsterdam to represent Rooting for Roona at the BritDoc Global Impact Producer’s Assembly. The Assembly was a platform for Impact Producers from the world over to formally network and connect as a professional community.

  12. Tripura

    The CurleyStreet team visits Roona and her family once again, to check up on her progress and to document other cases of children with congenital disorders, around the region. This visit is all the more special, because Fatema and Abdul have been blessed with a healthy baby boy - Akhtar Hussain! We meet a smiling Roona who is stronger and ready for her final surgery, which will take place in Delhi when Fatema recovers from her delivery.

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