A Russian documentary maker has launched an offer to save a young Bedouin woman from being sold as a wife by 50 sheep when she reaches 11 or 12 years old.
The boy's father begged Ivan Vdovin, 27, to help his seven-year-old daughter Zakura escape the long-established path for girls in their traditional and nomadic society in the Wadi Qelt valley on the border between Israel and Palestine.
Now the Russian is looking for crowdfunding to make a film about her plight in the hope that her father Arafat's wishes come true and that she can avoid being sold by sheep soon after her periods begin.
The father, who was Vdovin's guide on a trip before filming, offered the Russian the chance to take his daughter to Moscow and even marry her when he turned 12, which the documentary declined graciously.
Scroll down to watch the video
A Russian documentary maker is trying to save a young Bedouin woman (pictured) from being sold as a wife by 50 sheep when she reaches the age of 11 or 12.
Little Zakura (left with her younger brother) faces being sold by sheep shortly after she begins her periods
The boy's father begged 27-year-old Ivan Vdovin (center) to help his seven-year-old daughter Zakura (right) escape the traditionally established path for girls in their traditional and nomadic society in the Wadi Qelt valley on the border between Israel and Palestine
His motivation was his love for the girl, who was then five years old and now seven, and wants to see her raised in a society where he can develop his full potential, said the filmmaker.
Vdovin promised to return and make a full-length documentary about Zakura and the life she faces in the hope that it can lead her to obtain education opportunities and avoid becoming a childish girlfriend with a much older husband.
He was struck by the way in which Arafat's eyes and his children had opened to the outside world through his iPhone 5 – which he loaded into a diesel generator – in which they saw other life on YouTube.
"In the summer of 2016 I spent a month in the desert on the border of Israel and Palestine with a film crew," Vdovin said.
"This is where I met Arafat, a Bedouin who lives in the Wadi Qelt valley with his family, Arafat was our guide and later almost a member of our team.
"He brought local children for casting, looking for places to shoot animals and even took us on dangerous mountain roads with his Toyota 1984. Little by little our relationships stopped being formal and he introduced us to his family.
The father, who was Vdovin's guide on a previous film trip, offered the Russian the chance to take his daughter (pictured) and raise her in Moscow, and even marry her when she turned 12, which the documentary declined kindly.
Vdovin (center) promised to return and make a feature-length documentary about Zakura (front) and the life she faces in the hope that it can lead her to obtain education opportunities and avoid becoming a childish girlfriend with a much older husband.
"Arafat had three children with two wives, his eldest son was 10 years old, the youngest son three and his daughter Zakura was five years old."
He said: "Zakura happily posed for pictures and expressed great interest in foreigners like us, she was also the only woman we were allowed to speak with in the month we were filming our film.
& # 39; If it were not for that fact, one would think that a bright future awaited her.
"But according to the Bedouin traditions, the father of the girl exchanges her daughters for the cattle of the groom's family as soon as they begin to have periods that can be as young as 11 or 12 years.
"Zakura's father estimates his value at 50 sheep, which is considered a good price given that the groom, who can be significantly older than the bride, will be totally responsible for it.
"After moving in with her husband, the woman practically stops communicating with the outside world.
Arafat's motivation (pictured) was his love for his daughter and his desire to see her raised in a society where he can develop his full potential, the filmmaker said.
The Russian filmmaker (pictured) said that Arafat estimated that Zakura's "value" is approximately 50 sheep
The boy's father begged Ivan Vdovin, 27, to help his seven-year-old daughter Zakura escape the long-established path for girls in their traditional and nomadic society in the Wadi Qelt valley (in photo) on the border between Israel and Palestine
"For many years, her social circle will be limited to the sisters of her husband, mother and children, and she will begin giving birth shortly after the wedding, and this happens about an hour's walk from Jerusalem."
The filmmaker said that after working with Arafat for three weeks, the Bedouin asked him for a "serious conversation."
"We sit on the sand next to his house … where he lives with his two wives and three children.
"He put a teapot in a small fire on the ground and then asked me in English:" Do you like my daughter? "
"I was surprised and I agreed."
According to Vdovin, Arafat said: "Take Zakura to Moscow, raise her until she is 12 years old, and then you can marry her if you want, her future here is predetermined, she is now free, but soon it will become someone's property.
"I love her as a father, but I do not see any opportunity to break our local traditions, you are a good man and it is very likely that you will have the opportunity to have a normal education and live in a different country."
Vdovin said: "I refused the deal, but I offered to make a movie about him and his daughter, because it is absolutely normal to love your child and want a better future for them. I was very excited about that.
Vdovin was sure that the father's motive, having glimpsed the outside world on YouTube and through meetings with foreigners, was to want the best for his intelligent and curious son, knowing that this was impossible in his own society.
His planned film, which raises money through crowdfunding, is called "Zakura, Bedouin girl".
He said: It's a documentary about the father and the daughter who live in the modern world, but they are forced to follow the ancient and terrifying laws of their tribe.
& # 39; This is a story about people who have feelings, love, fear and, sometimes, do not know what to do and what they should do.
"In July 2016, I returned from the trip to Israel and decided to film this documentary no matter what.
"And more importantly, do it before it's too late because with each passing year the chances of Zakura having a free and happy life are reduced catastrophically."
Initially he is raising £ 3,375 for the project from a total budget of £ 11,275.
He is financing the rest of his personal savings and expects the film to be screened next year.
& # 39; Crowdfunding is not only money, but also the opportunity to tell the story to a wider audience. Many asked if this documentary can help real people.
"I do not know anything about charity and I do not know how it works, but I realize that it's very important to talk about things that are scary and uncomfortable, and maybe it will help people act."