Throughout Latin America, a girl's 15th birthday marks her coming of age and is celebrated in style. It's a celebration that many poor rural families can ill-afford - the cost of the girl's dress alone is often prohibitive. Meet Blanca, a seamstress in Uruguay, who took advantage of a micro-credit scheme to invest in a sewing machine. Today she runs a business that makes and rents out affordable dresses. Now all the girls in her village can enjoy their coming of age.
Why does poverty persist in today's world of extreme wealth?
The BBC World Debate is part of a global event hosted by the BBC and 50 other broadcasters around the world. The debate explores the causes of and cures for the enduring problem of severe poverty which still affects many people in the world. The panel is made up of: Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister; Oby Ezekwesili from the Open Society Foundation in Africa and a former Nigerian government minister; Moeltesi Mbeki, South African author and Chair of SA Institute of International Affairs; and Vandana Shiva, Indian activist, environmentalist and scientist. The debate was chaired by Zeinab Badawi.
Can creativity help Haiti rebuild after the earthquake?
Ten-year-old Jouvens Latour survives Haiti's earthquake, but amidst the suffering, poverty turns into possibility. The young artist believes creativity is the way forward for his country.
Does foreign aid help or hinder the eradication of poverty?
Can a good education provide an escape from poverty?
“In China, the most lucrative Industry is Education.” Wang Zhenxiang, Tutor, Hongbo Education. There is a worldwide economic crisis, but everywhere parents are told that their children may escape the worst if they are educated, and everywhere children are pressured to climb the rungs of the ladder and acquire the totem of middle class life – a university education. But does education secure what it is supposed to? Can a degree really get you out of poverty? Weijun Chen’s film, set in Wuhan in central China, looks at the realities of Chinese education through the lives of Wang Zhenxiang, a tutor at the private Hongbo Education college, Wang Pan, high school graduate and would be student, and Wan Chao, graduate job seeker who goes from one unpromising interview to another.
Who really benefits from charitable donations?
A family has been supporting a child in Uganda via a charity for three years. The father and small daughter travel from UK to Uganda to see if their charity makes any difference: to them or to the child they are supporting.
Can glitz and celebrity save the world?
Thirty years ago, rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono set out on a journey to fight poverty in Africa. They tried to convince some of the wiliest and mightiest politicians on earth to change the world. Give us the Money tracks their journey through famines and palaces, and world-wide TV-audiences. But how successful have they really been? Did they manage to make the world a better place? Bosse Lindquist's film tracks the history of this idea. "A band of musicians set out to change the world" he says "and now the time has come to ask: What did they achieve, and is celebrity politics is the right way of combating world poverty?"'
What does it mean to take take a holiday - when you've never had one?
Poor families might not be starving in the UK, but in a culture where most people have more than you, being poor is isolating and shaming, "People look down on you for being poor." This personal film looks at the huge difference just having a holiday can make to a family living in poverty. "They don't want money, they just want their dignity back."
If you lived in the 11th most violent city in the world, what path would your life take?
Cali in Colombia is the 11th most violent city in the world. Homicide levels are high and more than 40% of the city's murders take place in the district of Aguablanca. In a place where violence is so rife and where gang membership is a way of defending your neighbourhood, what path would you take if you lived there? Good? Bad? Indifferent? As Yahir travels around Aguablanca and stops to talk to his neighbours, can you guess what path he decided to take?
Can Mali's farmers combat food shortages and escape poverty on their own terms?
75% of Mali's population are farmers, but rich, land-hungry nations like China and Saudi Arabia are leasing Mali's land in order to turn large areas into agribusiness farms. Many Malian peasants do not welcome these efforts, seeing them as yet another manifestation of imperialism. As Mali experiences a military coup, the developers are scared off - but can Mali's farmers combat food shortages and escape poverty on their own terms?
What's is like to walk to school in one of the poorest neighbourhood's in South Africa?
What's your walk to school like when, every day, you have to cross one of the poorest parts of South Africa to get to class? Kelina, aged 11, is getting an education in a township in Cape Town, riddled with guns, drugs and violence. How does she see the world on her daily trip to school?
How much inequality is too much?
The documentary compares the access to opportunities of residents of Park Avenue both on the Upper East Side and in the South Bronx. It draws upon Michael Gross's book "740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building", which showed that many billionaires live in that building. It goes on to explain that billionaire heir David Koch made significant donations to Paul Ryan in the same way that banker Steven Schwartzman lobbied Charles Schumer—for their own gain. The documentary includes interviews with a doorman at 740 Park Avenue, journalist Jane Mayer, Yale University Professor Jacob Hacker, University of California, Berkeley Professor Paul Piff, and Republican advisor Bruce Bartlett
How have attitudes to poverty changed over the ages?
The poor may always have been with us, but attitudes towards them have changed. Beginning in the Neolithic Age Ben Lewis’ film takes us through the changing world of poverty. You go to sleep, you dream, you become poor through the ages. And when you awake, what can you say about poverty now? There are still very poor people, to be sure, but the new poverty has more to do with inequality…
Will an educaiton in solar engineering prove to be a route out of poverty for women in Jordan?
Rafea is a Bedouin woman who lives with her four daughters in one of Jordan's poorest desert villages on the Iraqi border. She is given a chance to travel to India to attend the Barefoot College, where illiterate grandmothers from around the world are trained in 6 months to be solar engineers. If Rafea succeeds, she will be able to electrify her village, train more engineers, and provide for her daughters. Even when she returns as the first female solar engineer in the country, her real challenge will have just begun. Will she find support for her new venture? Will she be able to inspire the other women in the village to join her and change their lives? And most importantly, will she be able to re-wire the traditional minds of the Bedouin community that stand in her way?
How do multinational companies avoid paying tax in the developing countries where they operate?
Rüschlikon is a village in Switzerland with a very low tax rate and very wealthy residents. But it receives more tax revenue than it can use. This is largely thanks to one resident - Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, whose copper mines in Zambia are not generating a large bounty tax revenue for the Zambians. Zambia has the 3rd largest copper reserves in the world, but 60% of the population live on less than $1 a day and 80% are unemployed. Based on original research into public documents, the film describes the tax system employed by multinational companies in Africa.
Is anyone safe from poverty?
As the European dream fades, the economic crisis brings new poverty to the people of Athens. How will they survive as their society crumbles? A man's life is destroyed by the crisis: "I don't exist anymore" he says. But a small gift makes all the difference to him and his family...
Why Poverty? is a ground breaking, global media event, online and on TV, using films to get people talking about poverty, wealth and inequality. Together with 70 broadcasaters this campaign created the first ever global dialogue on poverty.
Why does the West waste so much food?
1/3 of food heads for the trash. The food thrown away in Europe and North America would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world three times over. 3 million tones of bread are thrown away in the European Union each year.
Is it worse to be born poor than to die poor?
130 million babies are born each year, and not one of them decides where they’ll be born or how they’ll live. In Cambodia, you’re likely to be born to a family living on less than $1/day. In Sierra Leone chances of surviving the first year are half those of the worldwide average. We go around the world to meet the newest generation.
What does poverty look like to you?
Wilbur Sargunaraj, India's first YouTube star is famous for his video showing westerners how to use an eastern toilet. In his irreverent comical style, he gives a guide within a music video for a western audience how to deal with poor people from the slums. Wilbur looks at poverty and inequality in India.