THE charitable work of Stagecoach co-founder Ann Gloag is to receive a global audience thanks to a new documentary featuring Oscar-winning actress, Meryl Streep.
The feature-length film, Shout Gladi Gladi follows the work of Ms Gloag’s Freedom From Fistula foundation, a Perth-based charity that provides access to healthcare for women in Africa during pregnancy and childbirth.
Shot in Malawi and Sierra Leone, the film is narrated by Streep, who described it as a “powerful” insight into the “igniting power” of Ms Gloag, one of Scotland’s richest women, as she tries to eradicate the plight of those who suffer from obstetric fistulas, a common, debilitating condition which leaves women and girls injured after childbirth.
Streep, a three-time Academy Award winner, narrates the documentary, which will be released later this year. It also features Melinda Gates, the philanthropist and wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. She is a co-founder of the couple’s charitable foundation, the largest organisation of its type in the world.
Also contributing to the film is Nigerian playwright and poet Wole Soyinka, the first African to be honoured with a Nobel Prize.
Shout Gladi Gladi shows the foundation’s work in trying to improve access to good maternity care, as well as training doctors and midwives, and providing free medical care at facilities in Sierra Leone, Kenya and Malawi.
Ms Gloag, who received a prestigious Eleanor Roosevelt Award four years ago in recognition of her work with the foundation, said: “We are truly honoured to have Meryl Streep support our film and our work.
“Her involvement will help shine a light on the ongoing, unnecessary suffering of millions of women and girls living with fistula today, as well as the enormous amount of work still needed to improve maternal health care across Africa.
“But the film is also about hope, as fistula can be cured in the majority of cases and can be prevented when good maternity care is available. Women and children need not die in childbirth and we all have the power to help.”
Streep, who combines her acting career with philanthropic work, having donated millions of pounds to museums in the US and set up scholarships in her name, said the documentary highlighted the hard work of the foundation in Africa.
She said: “This powerful film attests to the igniting power of one woman, Ann Gloag, to set in motion hundreds of helping hands, doctors, nurses, care-givers, family and friends, to resuscitate the health and status of victims of fistula.
“She has worked hard to combat healthcare deficits for rural women in Malawi, and I was happy to help bring attention to her work.”
Shout Gladi Gladi is being produced by Emmy-nominated documentary maker Adam Friedman.
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