Nurse holds first Christchurch African Film festival to fundraise for Somalian hospital

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

On returning to New Zealand from volunteering at a drought-striken African hospital, a Christchurch nurse is trying to help again.

Aid worker and Christchurch nurse Sahra Ahmed has organised an African Film Festival in Christchurch next week to fundraise for hospital equipment for a Somalian hospital.

Ahmed volunteered at Adaado Hospital in Central Somalia, her country of birth, earlier this year as drought relief.

Ahmed, who first came to New Zealand 28 years ago, said the small hospital served an area of around 30,000 people with “nowhere else to go”, and lacked basic equipment like delivery beds, IV stands and even gloves.

“There was a lot of need for medical equipment, overcrowding, so I just thought I would do something about that,” said Ahmed.

The New Zealand registered nurse, who works at Piki Te Ora health centre in Linwood, said New Zealand hospitals were lucky enough to have most resources – “not all the ones we want, but more compared to there.”

“Doing nothing was not an option for me. That’s why I came up with the idea of the film festival.”

A joint venture with the African Film Festival New Zealand Trust and the University of Canterbury, all profits raised from the festival will go towards providing equipment to Adaado Hospital.

No stranger to aid work, Ahmed was part of the German Red Cross after the 1999 Izmit earthquake in Turkey and the International Red Cross Ebola response in Sierra Leone in 2015.

Her husband, aid worker Malcolm Walker, shares her love of helping people, and has served in the Balkans, Pacific and Africa.

​”That’s my passion, making a difference people’s lives, whether it’s here in New Zealand or where I was born,” she said.

“I can not see getting everything [they need], I can’t save the world, but I’ll try to save one person.”

She wanted to raise “as much as possible” and said the festival, featuring two films produced by African women, would be something everybody could enjoy.

Following successful festivals in Auckland and Wellington, not-for-profit African Film Festival New Zealand Trust chairman Boubacar Coulibaly said this will be the festival’s first time in Christchurch since the events started in 2015. The showing of the two films were donated to the trust for free to support the fundraising mission.

“Any money is going to the medical equipment and Sahra will be managing that,” he said.

“I couldn’t see a better way of getting involved with this.”

Films for Somalia

Saturday August 19

C1 lecture theatre, University of Canterbury campus, Kirkwood Ave, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch
Tickets at the door, eftpos or cash. Students $12 per film, adults $20 per film OR $35 adult both films. Light refreshments included.

For more information contact Sahra at or Boubacar Coulibaly from the AFFNZT at Donations can be made to 38-9018-0750353-00

Source: – The Stuff