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Local filmmaker to explore work of Good Shephers Sisters

Posted By February 20, 2015 | 11:52 am | Local
Women of the Year 3

In 1990, when Upton resident Laura Lambert was born, a nun in Africa was so excited that her best friend’s niece had arrived, she nicknamed the baby Tebello – which means, “we’ve been expecting you.” Little did either of them know that 24 years later Miss Lambert would journey to Africa to help the nun and her order with a mission that brings hope to an otherwise hopeless situation.
Miss Lambert, a filmmaker, who has also written for The Catholic Free Press, will spend most of 2015 in Lesotho, Africa. There, the young woman, who uses Tebello Rose as her business name, will film a documentary titled “Wom[e]n of the Year.” It will explore the Good Shepherd Sisters’ work to help the poor, particularly teenage moms affected  by HIV/AIDS.
In Lesotho, a tiny country in southern Africa, many citizens struggle to survive. Based on statistics provided in the United States CIA’s “World Factbook,” almost one quarter of the adult population has HIV/AIDS. According to Miss Lambert’s research, this alarming rate is partly attributed to the region’s diamond mines that attract many male workers and, subsequently, prostitution and, to some extent, human trafficking. With the trade routes enabling the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, families and communities are devastated. Many orphaned teens and children are forced to take on adult roles without the benefit of appropriate training, education or financial resources. Thankfully, the Good Shepherd Sisters of Lesotho – part of the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – support them by offering them shelter, daycare and medical assistance. Miss Lambert said they also provide the teen moms with skills such as sewing, catering, decorating, computer training and animal husbandry.
Women of the Year 1
Miss Lambert has grown up learning about the work the sisters have done to help these teenage mothers. Her aunt, Sister Claire Lambert, is a Good Shepherd Sister who once lived in Lesotho and was best friends with Sister Armelina Tsiki, a founder of The Good Shepherd Centre there. Over the years, the young filmmaker met sisters from the country and heard stories about their work.
“Learning about them and their work has been something that has come to me, sort of, piecemeal, throughout my life,” said Miss Lambert. “Their life of service fascinated me and pushed me to learn more,” she added.
The research that followed and the discussions Miss Lambert had with the Good Shepherd Sisters were always encouraged. Eager to examine the effect The Good Shepherd Centre has on the people served by it, the sisters commissioned the documentary last summer. The project was approved by their bishop in October.
Documenting the experiences of the teenage moms and their children, as well as those of the Good Shepherd Sisters since the center opened in 1994, the film will also commemorate the center’s upcoming 25th anniversary.
Miss Lambert plans to leave later this month and intends to live and work in Lesotho for eight months to a year. She said she hopes to communicate to the Good Shepherd Sisters (and a wider audience) “the value in the work that they do and the value of the people they serve.”
In addition to producing the documentary, Miss Lambert also intends to write a screenplay. Because fictionalizing people and events can protect a source’s identity, she believes deeper, more powerful stories can sometimes be told. Miss Lambert said that it also “allows for just a greater opportunity to share people’s stories and bring our communities a little bit closer in communication and understanding.”
And she hopes that understanding will foster appreciation for the work the Good Shepherd Sisters are doing in Lesotho. As she prepares for her journey, Miss Lambert also hopes to raise global awareness of the country’s AIDS epidemic, and she looks forward to the filmmaking experience.
“I’m in love with stories. I am fascinated by people and their experiences,” she said. “And so, I’m really truly looking forward to … getting to know other people, from the way they see themselves, as much as possible.
“And beyond that, I’m just excited for another adventure!”

– Miss Lambert earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and anthropology from Assumption College  and a master’s degree in documentary production from Goldsmiths, University of London.
If you would like to help fund Miss Lambert’s work in Lesotho, you can send a check, made payable to Tebello Rose, to Laura Lambert, P.O. Box 220, Upton, MA 01568.
More information about the project is available at www.womenoftheyearleso.wix.com/strongwomen.