The Augusta Project
The Augusta Project seeks to leverage the EMMY Award-winning film “Searching for Augusta” to start conversations about PTSD, racism, and life issues in a non-stigmatizing way as a first step toward help and recovery. In addition, the film puts a human face to the War in Europe. Simply put, the Augusta Project is a catalyst for learning and change.
To accomplish this mission, the Augusta Project provides screening kits, copies of the film, curricula, and internationally recognized authors and speakers who are skilled in leading web-based and face to face discussions with audiences. Our goal is to effect change.
The documentary is so important because it shows what a
difference just one woman can make.
Augusta cared about other people and that's what
we should learn from her; learning that we should care about each other -
it makes a huge difference."
High School Student Comment
PTSD is a silent and debilitating health care issue in America. Seventy per cent of U.S. adults have experienced some range of traumatic event at least once in their lives. Of that up to twenty percent will go on to develop PTSD. That’s 223 million people. PTSD related health care costs exceed $23 billion a year.
Contrary to popular thought, PTSD is not confined to those in military service. Police, fire and EMT professionals are also affected. And, more than ever, women and children who have witnessed or been a part of domestic trauma, abuse and neighborhood violence suffer PTSD. Some chilling statistics help focus the problem:
The lifetime occurrence in combat veterans is between 10 and 30 percent.
An estimated 1 out of 10 women will develop PTSD. Women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD.
Between 30 and 60 per cent of children who have experienced traumatic events will develop PTSD.
Augusta Chiwy, Jack Prior and Lee Naftalin, the three main characters in “Searching for Augusta”, each suffered from PTSD. Augusta was mute, Jack spent a career as a pathologist to avoid suffering and pain and Lee struggled with alcohol abuse.
“Searching for Augusta” has been demonstrated to be effective in beginning conversations that can bring healing to those who suffer from PTSD. Empathy, hope and personal courage mark the film and provide a “safe” starting point to bring help.
“For many years after the war Augusta remained mute,
unable to speak as a result of the
trauma she experienced during the Battle of the Bulge. Later in her life
she could slip back into the past and be quiet for long periods of time”
Martin King, Historian and Author
Augusta Chiwy was an unwanted child. Her father, Henri Chiwy, a white man, conceived Augusta while serving in the Belgian Congo. Her mother was a black woman about whom Augusta knew nothing. Chiwy chose to bring Augusta to Belgium rather than to leave her behind in the Congo. Raised by her aunt, Augusta encountered a lifetime of bigotry and racial discrimination.
Students who have viewed the film see the footprints of human trafficking, racial tension and hatred played out in the life of a heroic black woman. The application of Augusta’s personal journey to today is extremely powerful. Students discover that humanity does not have skin color, that personal responsibility and courage depend on character and that destructive environments can be overcome.
“I think that the movie we saw was very important because,
by Augusta's behavior,we were taught about heroism,
bravery, self- sacrifice and adherence to duty.
Also we were taught that we must not discriminate by a person’s color,
but their characterand ability and willingness to
help others is what really matters.”
Middle School Student Comment
Searching For Augusta - The Forgotten Angel of Bastogne
Emmy award-winning director Mike Edwards and world-renowned military historian Martin King bring to the screen the Emmy award-winning film “Searching For Augusta”, an unbelievable true story that follows the quest to find out the truth about the incredible life of Augusta Chiwy. Inspiration for the film is taken from the HBO mini-series “Band of Brothers”, and from the New York Times best-selling novel by Steven Ambrose, where a black nurse “Anna” shows up very briefly raising a number of unsolved questions. Who was this person? Why did she appear and then vanish from the pages of history? Is she a myth?
The answers may surprise you.
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest land battle in US history. It marked the end of the Third Reich and shaped the governments of Europe that remain today. Beyond the historic, the Bulge exemplifies the failures of leadership, the impact of personal heroic action and the value of life. “Searching for Augusta” brings to student and adult audiences historic insight and inspiration for tomorrow.
“The first time I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, as the plane
flew into the skiesover London I was struck by the thought that,
in these skies, a thousand British fighter pilots fought off Hitler’s air force and saved both Britain and Western civilization. But how many
students today will have any idea of such things......”
Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution