BIDDEFORD — A Massachusetts native with ties to Biddeford will soon begin an ambitious project.

Tebello Rose, a young filmmaker, plans to travel to Lesotho, Africa early this year to start production on her first long-form documentary, which is about a nonprofit organization that assists young, single mothers caring for their babies at the Good Shepherd Centre for Teenage Mothers.

The nuns working at the center are from the same order as the Good Shepherd Sisters in Biddeford.

“Many of the young ladies who access help at the center are either infected or affected by HIV and have lost community support due to the widespread nature of the epidemic,” Rose wrote in an email. “In a country where one-quarter of the population tests positive for HIV, it is impossible for such young ladies to live unaffected.”

The documentary has been commissioned by the Good Shepherd community.

It will follow work at the center, which offers counseling, technical skills, health care and childcare to teenage mothers who are affected by HIV or AIDS. It will also “track the organization’s progress as it continues to serve teen mothers in crisis and to measure the success of young women who have graduated the program,” said Rose in a statement about the project.

Rose plans to write a fictional screenplay based on the stories she learns about while shooting her documentary.

This project will be the most challenging she has worked on, she said. Her previous experience includes producing short documentaries; recently, she had a position working on a narrative feature film in Rhode Island.

Rose said she learned of the work being done in Lesotho through her aunt, Sr. Claire Lambert, who is a member of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Biddeford.

The filmmaker said she is interested in documenting the sisters and their mission in Lesotho, because “their compassion caring for these women makes them among the most inspiring women I’ve met.”

Rose said she chose to create documentaries because it brings “the global community in closer communication. Documentary films are a way to bring us closer together despite never having met each other.”

She said she is interested in this particular project because, “as a women from a Western community, knowing one side of the female experience, I want to understand other women.”

Rose is currently raising money for her project through crowdfunding and other methods.

She said she hopes to leave for Africa in February or March and complete the film within one year.

— Staff Writer Dina Mendros can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 324 or [email protected]

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