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Cash Back


Shot in Brick Lane in the heart of London’s East End, this feisty short reveals the extent of “remittances”. This is money sent by migrants and Diasporas to friends, families and villages in some of the world’s poorest countries. As the film points out, they don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves or a wristband to show they care and they go on sending money when the shocking TV images have faded. This short documentary is also available on DVD from the WORLDwrite shop.

Related topics: Economy, Global, Social Change

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Mary said:

Interestingly, this programme suggests that rather than depending on aid from Western countries (and perpetuating global inequalities), people from poorer nations would rather be allowed to immigrate and work freely in wealthier countries so that they can improve living conditions in their home countries themselves. They want and strive for self-sufficiency and economic independence by working abroad (often suffering intolerable working conditions and very low wages) and sending money home. This highlights the core, universal desire immigrants have to proactively seek a better life for them and their loved ones as opposed to simply taking hand-outs. Don’t all people want to have the freedom and ability to support themselves and their families?

kachi said:

I send money home. For many people in Africa, particularly those in rural areas, remittances provide an invisible welfare system that helps with health bills, school fees, living expenses, business start ups etc

In Ghana for instance the amount sent back in remittances is about $1.2 billion, jus under the amount that Ghana gets from its core exports gold and cocoa. Incidenatlly the amount above ($1.2 billion) is only the amount tracked through the official banking system by the bank of Ghana. Most remittances of course go through envelopes and other informal sources. So the figure to Ghana is in reality double this amount

Good film Worldwrite. Keeping focsuing on the agency of the poor and how they see the world as opposed to what everybody thinks they need.

Robkun said:


This is a topic you don’t hear about very often – in fact, if I hadn’t studied remitances a little at uni I probably wouldn’t even be aware of it. So a colourful, accessible vid like this is much needed. I especially liked the interview with Gibril Faal whose insightful comments provided the backbone of the film; for example, his comparison of those who send remittances back to poor countries with flavour-of-the-month wrist band wearers – excellent stuff!

Ghelani said:

My family send money home, never bragged or even talked about as it is so normal to do this; it’s only human after all. So it was excellent to see your film putting the story straight as i am getting tired of being told that people who live in the poorest parts of the world are either greedy and corrupt and spending all the money the west give or that we don’t know our own minds and need help spending it! As long as the west don’t start telling us how we should spend our remittances as they will get a resounding ‘hands off’ if they do.

Kirk said:

such a refreshing change from hearing about us saving the poor and feeling so goooood about it. Instead millions are just getting on with it and so should we by supporting films like this.

Sozla said:

I think it is very true that one of the real problems is the west’s poverty of ambition for the developing world. The people that send remitances home are making solutions rather than getting hooked up on the problems. I thought the film gave that message really well!

Alboili said:

This film really brings to light just how much people from the developing world abroad are able to help their respective countries by sending money home with no strings attached versus the aid given by many NGOs and developed nations that has conditions on how the money should be spent. People in developing nations should be able to choose how to best improve their own countries, since they live there and know best what should be done with the money.

Karanjit said:

I felt that it showed a great message in how hard people have to work in this country so that they can support their family members back in their country. A good film that showed an important message that many people are unlikely to be aware of.

SarahKelly said:

Great message, love the music and pace. It shows what migrant workers do to help their own countries of origin and they don’t do it to get a badge. Real informal solidarity…I’m loving it…well done worldwrite another winner I think