My name is Shajuti Hossain, and I’m a freshman at Duke University from Raleigh, North Carolina. I have not decided on a major yet, but I am thinking about choosing Public Policy, Economics or both. Before registering for classes, however, I was sure that I wanted to experience the service learning program, because I volunteered a countless number of hours before coming to Duke and enjoyed every minute of it. I found this service learning documentary class in an advertisement in the University’s newspaper, the Chronicle. Although I have no background in documentaries or photography, I enjoy creativity and the arts, so I thought this class would be an exciting challenge.

Besides learning about the technicalities of photography, audio recording, and creating a documentary, I have learned a great deal about what it is like to live in a transitional home. Even though I interviewed only one individual, I was exposed to all the women at Dove House and I came to know a little bit about each of them every time I went. Although they share similar circumstances right now, their reasons for seeking out help are very diverse. Despite their troubles, they have the strength to start over and I admire them for their perseverance.

For my documentary, I worked closely with Kitty, and I came to understand how the retrospectively significant elements of her life have made her into the passionate and persevering woman she is today. She has been in the Dove House for almost a year now, and she has several goals set for herself after she leaves. Although one could argue that in every life there is a “point of no return” after which it will be impossible to succeed, her story defies that idea entirely. Kitty made the decision to renew her life and she succeeded.

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