South Surrey’s Alison MacLean during her 2010 trip to Afghanistan

Putting Afghan women’s plight in focus

South Surrey filmmaker heading back to Middle East for second documentary

A South Surrey filmmaker is teaming up with local organizations to raise much-needed funds for protective clothing for Afghan policewomen.

Alison MacLean, a veteran of the broadcast industry, is partnering with the White Rock chapter of the International Police Association and local Rotary clubs to raise money for boots, hats, shirts and underwear for the women, who she will feature in her documentary, Burkas to Bullets: Afghan Police Women?

She will be leaving for Afghanistan in the spring, making this her second trip as an embedded, independent journalist. During her last trip in 2010, MacLean was stationed in Kandahar for three weeks while she filmed Outside the Wire, a television documentary that aired across Canada on Remembrance Day.

“What I do is not what airs on the news,” said MacLean. “I am an independent, unfiltered voice documenting what’s happening.”

During her time in Kandahar, MacLean saw firsthand the lack of suitable clothing women had.

“The Afghan policewomen have a basic uniform without protective gear,” said MacLean. “They need to be properly outfitted with boots, goggles and headgear.”

MacLean has begun a speaking tour that will continue until December and includes portions of Outside the Wire.

People who attend the speaking tour can make a donation through Rotary for the protective clothing. For each purchase of the film, $5 will be allocated to MacLean’s next documentary.

The single mom of two has been involved with Afghanistan since the mid-’80s, when she first visited. From home in Canada, she sends Aspirin, prenatal vitamins and school supplies to help secret schools and health clinics.

MacLean said her passion for the people in the war-torn country is something her children, aged 10 and 13 years old, respect.

“Both children fully support my work in Afghanistan,” she said. “They trust the soldiers will keep me safe.”

This year is the 10th anniversary of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

Even as it draws to a close, MacLean said Canada’s involvement should not end.

“Afghanistan now has some infrastructure in place, there are schools and hospitals and some basic commerce,” she said. “Canada is well-respected by the Afghan people. We need to stay actively involved in the country on all levels.”

MacLean’s background in broadcasting includes being a camera operator at TSN and starting up her own company, Tomboy Productions.

For more information on MacLean’s work, visit www.tomboyproductions.tv

 

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