My name is Phill Prendeville and along with Emily, our two girls, and dog Scout, I live on Auckland’s West Coast.
As a TV current affairs producer and documentary maker I have travelled the world and my own neighbourhood documenting humanity at its best and worst. I have crossed paths with people from all walks of life. They all have their story and it has been my job and privilege to tell them. I have had my own company Umbrella Films NZ since 2000.
Along the way, whilst working for 60 Minutes, I started to do projects for an international charity, ChildFund. Over the years I have created multiple television commercials, documentaries and photographic assignments for them. On occasion putting my own family in the picture.
Vita in Mathare Slum (click here)
Phill with Burmese student Fighters
In February 2008, I went to Sierra Leone to photograph and film the stories of girls kidnapped by the Revolutionary United Front
( RUF). They were used as sex slaves, soldiers and enforced labour. At the end of the war the girls returned to their villages but were often treated as outcasts and punished by their own people.
It was on this trip that I met Umu. She was 16 years old. Umu became the face of the Aid campaign with the photos I took and the story she told became a 60 Minute current affairs story.
Upon departure from Umu’s village, I gave her my card something I seldom did. I told her if she needed my help to just contact me. Two years later I heard from Umu and my family has been supporting her ever since.
It is because of Umu and her story that The Umu Foundation T.U.F has been created . Umu is the force behind it all. I am merely the messenger and the message is that Umu wants to fight for women's rights in Sierra Leone, she wants to be a lawyer, she wants to fight for justice and needs help to do it.
Knowing that so little can help so much we have created T.U.F as a vehicle to help not just Umu but the many other young talented and passionate women like her.
Zola (click here)
Kenya. Phill, Emily, Zola, Vita with Tom the cameraman (front) and our sponsored child Faith, her family and Childfund support crew and friends