There is nothing more relaxing than settling in at the end of a day to watch a good movie. No doubt movies are a source of entertainment, but they can also educate us, deepen our empathy for others, and expand our understanding of the world around us.

We asked some of our relief workers for their top film picks that opened their eyes to the needs of our world in a new or profound way. Here are some of their favorites:

Human Flow

Human Flow is an incredibly moving documentary by acclaimed filmmaker and artist Ai Weiwei, which stunningly captures the sobering reality of the global refugee crisis. Amidst the overwhelming numbers and statistics, Weiwei returns a sense of humanity to the crisis as he paints an accurate albeit heartbreaking picture of the suffering endured by the millions forced to flee their homelands.

Medair has been responding to the Syrian refugee crisis since 2012. We help Syrian refugees who fled into Lebanon and Jordan to access: emergency shelter; medical care; safe water, sanitation and hygiene; and cash assistance.


The Impossible

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed at least 225,000 people across 14 countries. The enormous waves severely damaged or destroyed entire coastal towns, leaving survivors without shelter, food, clean water or medical care. The Impossible depicts the true-life story of one family on holiday in Thailand when the tsunami hit and their incredible story of survival.

After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, Medair responded to the aftermath in Sri Lanka. Emergency teams quickly supplied safe water to people living in remote displacement camps. Over the following year, Medair helped communities recover by rebuilding shelters and latrines, cleaning wells, and restoring the livelihoods of the fishing community by distributing boats and nets.


Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda captures the harrowing story of a real-life hotel manager, Paul Rusesabagina, and his wife, Tatiana, during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The film captures Rusesabagina’s brave efforts to save his family’s lives and an estimated 1,000 displaced people in the hotel he managed amidst the violence around him.

In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, Medair provided emergency relief to the Bugesera region, which lost 80 percent of its population to the genocide. Emergency teams worked to get medical centers up and running again and brought in psychiatrists to provide trauma counseling for both major ethnic groups. These workshops brought together mixed ethnic groups to share their stories.



Makala is a French documentary following the life of a young man living in rural DR Congo and struggling to provide for himself by making and selling charcoal. The film provides a look into the harsh realities of rural life, and the many physical, emotional and spiritual challenges people face on a daily basis.

DR Congo now has more internally displaced people than any other African country because of the prolonged internal violence. An on-going Ebola outbreak in Eastern DR Congo has only added to the complexity. Medair has worked in DR Congo for over 20 years. It’s current programming focuses on supporting health facilities to provide quality services to the most vulnerable—particularly those affected by disease outbreaks or population movements—who would otherwise be unable access to medical care. Emergency teams are also responding to the Ebola, cholera and measles outbreaks, to ensure affected patients receive timely referral to treatment, and to prevent these diseases from spreading further.


The Good Lie

Based on real-life events, The Good Lie tells the story of a group of Sudanese refugees as they flee violence in their country, seek safety in a refugee camp in Kenya, and eventually are awarded the chance to immigrate to the United States. The movie follows their journey as they struggle to start over in a foreign country while being separated from loved ones, and the one choice that would change their lives forever.

Since 1992, Medair has responded to crises in South Sudan (then Southern Sudan) and is now one of the most active humanitarian relief organizations in the country. Our teams respond quickly to sudden emergencies across the country, and provide improved access to quality health care, help for pregnant women to deliver their babies with a skilled attendant, and treatment of acutely malnourished children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers.

What movie or documentary left an impact on you? Comment on our Facebook page to share your top picks with our community.

Videos: IMDB