Ms. Nilima Abrams
Specialization: Creative and Performing Arts
Home institution in US: At-Large, Vermont
Host Institution in India: Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, Karnataka  
Start date/Month in India: August 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Ms. Nilima Abrams holds a B.A. from the University of Vermont (UVM), where she integrated self-taught documentary filmmaking with political science and international development courses. She graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with college and departmental honors. At UVM, Ms. Abrams received grants to support international film and service learning programs in India and Ethiopia. She was an active volunteer, mentoring and tutoring youth and new immigrants, promoting fair trade and supporting humanitarian aid organizations in Sudan. At UVM, she wrote an award-winning honors thesis about media’s potential to improve primary education in India.

Ms. Abrams completed an M.F.A. in documentary film and video from Stanford University, California; her film topics included an innovative farm-to-school program, foster youth and use of meditation to combat stress from cancer. At Stanford, she volunteered with Asha for Education, helping to support primary schools in India. She also created and ran a summer camp for Somali refugee children in Vermont, which taught filmmaking, gardening and sports. Recently, she has taught documentary courses at the University of Vermont and Community College of Vermont, while co-creating and launching the Reward Volunteers mobile and web apps. Her films have been screened at festivals and featured in the online journal, Practical Matters. She speaks Spanish and is learning Hindi, loves animals, hiking and playing ultimate Frisbee.

Ms. Abrams’ Fulbright project, “Family Kya Hai?” is to film a feature length, participatory documentary about a multicultural home for ex-street children. The film chronicles the Children’s Project, which started when an American-Filipina couple living in south India welcomed four needy children into their home. More and more kids arrived, and now the couple, along with local and international helpers, is raising 40 kids. The film will highlight the melding of cultures in order to overcome poverty-- material deprivation and the universally felt poverties of anger, loneliness and fear.