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Mama Hope, African Nonprofit, Addresses Africa Stereotypes With 'Stop The Pity' Campaign

Posted: 04/30/2012 2:12 pm Updated: 04/30/2012 4:45 pm

African Men Stereotypes

Sick and tired of being portrayed on the big screen as machine-gun wielding ruthless killers, a group of educated African men have come forward to challenge Hollywood’s stereotypes.

Released on the heels of the Kony 2012 craze, a video by Africa nonprofit Mama Hope is asking the West to look beyond the way its continent is portrayed in the movies.

“We shoot our machine guns from trucks. We shoot our machine guns from boats,” one of the men says as violent footage plays in the background. “We hate smiling. Smiling is stupid.”

Nyla Rodgers, the founding director of Mama Hope, a nonprofit that works to develop education, health, children and food programs in Africa, told Philanthropy.com that she was “so mad” when the she saw Invisible Children’s Joseph Kony documentary. She decided to fire back with a “Stop the Pity” campaign, which shows how organizations, like hers, are working to empower and educate Africans.

The video contrasts the militant way Africans are often portrayed, with colorful, playful images of local medical students and human resource workers kicking around a soccer ball.

“Using images that people can relate to," Rodgers told Philanthropy.com, "[and] showing people not at their worst but at their full potential, with creativity, is just as effective."

While the men in the video share just how relatable they are on the surface –- through sports and their affinity for Facebook –- their resounding message runs deep.

“There is nothing more dangerous than a brave Western protagonist,” one man says in the Mama Hope video. “We’re talking to you shirtless Matthew McConaughey."

Feeling inspired? Learn how you can get involved with Mama Hope's "Stop the Pity" campaign here.

To learn about nonprofits that are making a difference in the lives of child soldiers in Uganda, click through the slideshow below.

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Empower An Ex-Child Soldier
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UNICEF partners with local Ugandan communities to provide them with the tools they need to protect, heal and empower former child soldiers. The organization works to take guns away from children and moves children away from living in barracks.

When it comes to reintegrating ex-soldiers into their communities, UNICEF gives local centers shelter materials, medical services, counseling and job-training support.

Get involved with UNICEF's child protection programs here.

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Filed by Emily Heinz  |