I Am Because We Are.

Photographs by Kristen Ashburn. Foreword by Madonna.
Powerhouse Books, New York, 2009. 180 pp., 106 duotone and 44 four-color illustrations, 10¾x10¾".

Publisher's Description
I Am Because We Are is the companion volume to the acclaimed forthcoming documentary by Nathan Rissman and Madonna. This book of images by award-winning photojournalist Kristen Ashburn provides an intimate look at the lives of eight children featured in the film and reveals the harsh reality of the AIDS pandemic throughout southern Africa.

The title is derived from the concept of “Ubuntu,” a belief in African spirituality that says all humanity is connected, that we cannot be ourselves without community and that an individual’s well-being is dependent upon the well-being of others.

The book contains heart-wrenching stories that are a call to action. In a country of 13 million people, over one million are orphans. Looking into the hearts and minds of children who have suffered more than one can imagine, the book provides an unflinching view of life at the center of the global AIDS crisis.

Ultimately viewers come to understand that this is not just a story about orphans in Malawi, but about global responsibility and human interconnectedness.

I Am Because We Are includes a foreword by Madonna, an afterword by Ashburn, excerpts from interviews with Malawian children, their biographies, and extended captions. Author proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the charitable organization Raising Malawi for their extensive work with orphans throughout Malawi.

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