Line in the sand: A young girl draws her dream home on one of Bermuda’s beaches in a scene from the Poverty in Paradise documentary. The movie shows another side of life on the island — one of struggle. *Photo supplied
Line in the sand: A young girl draws her dream home on one of Bermuda’s beaches in a scene from the Poverty in Paradise documentary. The movie shows another side of life on the island — one of struggle. *Photo supplied
A documentary about single mums living below the poverty line will force islanders to ­acknowledge the problem.

This is the hope of producer Sheelagh Cooper, president of the Coalition for the Protection of Children.

The organization financed the movie by Lucinda Spurling in a bid to highlight the plight of mothers raising families alone in a country where wages are ­increasingly failing to match the rising cost of living.

Policy

She said: “There is some fairly general ignorance about the amount of poverty and level of poverty in Bermuda and the ­impact it has on our children.

“I’m hopeful the film will make a difference as to how people view it and their willingness to do something about it.

“If we want to make changes in social policy we have to first of all ­educate the public about the problems and create the political will to put the resources in place to make a difference.”

She believes it is significant that so many women — 16 in total – were prepared to talk on the record, on camera, about their struggles. They have reached the end of their tether.

“We’ve provided a vehicle through which they can make themselves heard.

“They know that poverty is not well understood, that people have myths and assumptions about them, that people think they are lazy, that they don’t manage their money well or that they have had too many children.

“Those are the kinds of things they hear all the time. The reality of the situation is quite different.

“This is giving them a chance to tell their story.

“One of the women says, ‘They think of us like crabs in a bucket’.

“To me that is really expressive of the way they feel they are ­treated by the various social agencies.”

She said things got markedly worse during the time it took to make the film as gang crime ­increased and the recession made finding work even tougher.

She added that the movie had a global reach, with many of the problems experienced in Bermuda mirrored elsewhere.

“If the third richest country in the world, with a mere 65,000 ­people can’t address these problems and do it successfully, the question is, who can?”