The First Step

Asoka Esuruoso received her Bachelors degree in Film from the Maryland Institute College of Art, then enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate program at Columbia University in New York. At Columbia she studied International Law, Human Rights, and Development Policy, under Professor Yasmine Ergas, Associate Director for The Center for the Study of Human Rights. She also studied African American Literature under Professor Farah Griffin, head of the African American Studies Department. These experiences and research confirmed her desire to be a human rights activist, documentary filmmaker promoting social and political awareness, and a writer. To further this goal she enrolled in the English Masters Degree program at the Freie Universität Berlin, with a focus on Post-Colonial Literature and Post Colonial Political Theory.

Professionally she has worked as a filmmaker with institutions promoting Environmental, Human Rights and Human Dignity, and Aids awareness. These organizations include Bio-Desel University, affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, and the Sidran Institute of Baltimore in the United States, for whom she made films promoting sexual abuse and AIDS awareness.

Currently she has been working with female refugees and asylum seekers in Germany through a non-profit she founded with several other women called Voices In Exile, and also in connection with organizations like and Togo Action Plus. As females of color women asylum seekers and refugees suffer under the triple burden of discrimination based on race, sex, and social status. Their voices are not heard here within German society or the global community. This continued isolation and silence results in them being dehumanized in minds of the Germans they live near, and leaves them open to attacks from local right wing extremist groups.

Asoka’s academic work and research have focused on breaking this fear and isolation by working together with these women to document their lives through film and literature; and to help build outreach programs to connect the refugees with the Germans they live near and other refugee communities across Germany.

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