Rafea: Solar Mama

Tribute Jehane Noujaim

In the northeastern desert of Jordan lies a small village where upward mobility is tough. Perpetually unemployed, villagers often pass the day by drinking tea and smoking cigarettes. Raouf Dabbas, a senior adviser at Jordan’s Ministry of Environment, envisions a future in which villages run on self-sustaining solar power engineered by women from within the community. Dabbas handpicks candidates to send to Barefoot College in India, where women from Kenya, Burkina Faso, Colombia, and Jordan excitedly embark on a six-month course to become solar engineers. For one participant, Rafea, taking part in the program enrages her husband and jeopardizes her access to her children—yet what she will learn is vital for all their futures. Filmmakers Mona Eldaief and Jehane Noujaim thoughtfully observe the immediate camaraderie formed between these women—hands guiding unsure hands during circuit-board lessons, reassuring pats on shoulders, and faces filled with laughter and smiles. Ever timely, Rafea: Solar Mama is a resounding testament to the power and necessity of equal access to education.  KR

Q&A following screening


Mona Eldaeif, Jehane Noujaim


Mette Heide


Karim Amer


Jean Tsien, Jenny Golden


Mona Eldaief

Release Year


Festival Year



Denmark, United States, Egypt

Run Time

75 minutes


Partially subtitled