Living On a Dollar Review

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions!

Living_on_One_Dollar_Cover_Photo

“Small changes make big impacts.”

Who should watch: There topics covered are appropriate for audiences in middle school and up. If elementary-aged students were to watch, it’s important to preface the viewing with a brief overview of poverty around the world. We also suggest following up with ways for students to make an impact and support locally-led solutions.

Why it’s important: This gives viewers from the developed world a great perspective of what it’s like for a peer to go to a country where locals deal with issues like extreme poverty and economic sustainability every day.

What Maggie thought: I think this is a great conversation starter regarding what poverty looks like locally and globally, as well as how it is directly connected to other issues like healthcare and education. The documentary follows four college-aged males as they live on $1 a day for 56 days in a rural mountain village of Peña Blanca, Guatemala. In a short time period they connect with the local community and experience their undeniable generosity and challenging financial situations. The four students are welcomed with open arms, and learn from their neighbors about the struggle to provide basic necessities for their families (food, shelter, healthcare, education, etc.).

We learn that the locals are hardworking, supportive, and creative individuals who with small changes (like microfinance loans) are able to slow the cycle of poverty and perhaps even change the course of the younger generation’s lives. My own experience traveling in El Salvador mirrored that of Living On a Dollar, which is why I would recommend it. The one hour film gives insight to the struggles and resilience of other global citizens living on one dollar a day. Next step: take action! Learn more about NGC’s partnerships with 45 grassroots partners around the world here.

Maggie Broderick, NGC Development & Operations Manager, reviewed Living On a Dollar. To learn more about her, click here.

Advertisements

Cutting for Stone Book Review

Cutting for Stone

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions!

Cutting for Stone, set in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, spans the course of a century in the lives of the denizens of Missing Hospital, centered on conjoined (and separated upon birth) twins Shiva and Marion Stone. The twins, sons of two of the hospital’s healthcare providers, grow up in the upheaval of 1960’s Ethiopia, in the midst of military coups and resistance movements. Growing up in the hospital, the boys experience the challenges that come with healthcare in the developing world.

Most importantly for New Global Citizens, one of the primary foci of the novel is the importance and paucity of maternal healthcare services in the developing world. Missing Hospital encounters women with obstructed labor, botched abortions, fetal death, and vaginal fistula. Fistula, or the abnormal connection between two organs or vessels, most often refers to the damage sustained by obstructed labor and forced delivery. When a birth is obstructed, the pressure in the birth canal often causes a tear in the vaginal wall passing through to either the anus or the urethra. This tear, if not repaired, will leak excrement almost constantly, rendering the woman unable to control her bowel or bladder activity.

The novel’s portrayal of rural health, fistula, and cultural challenges surrounding women and health in Ethiopia is accurate without causing the reader to pity the cast of characters. For a great read about one of the most complex Millenium Development Goals, I would highly recommend Cutting for Stone.

Fistula is still one of the leading challenges faced by mothers in many areas of the world. For current information on work being done to ensure safe births, check out the work of Edna Adan at Edna Adan University Hospital in Somaliland (commonly known as Somalia, bordering Ethiopia). If your team is interested in sponsoring a Global Project directly involved in treating fistula and providing high-quality maternal healthcare, check out the work of SEWA Rural.

Lisa Glenn, NGC Director of Programs, reviewed Cutting for Stone. To learn more about her, click here.

A Path Appears: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty (Part II) Review

Photo: http://apathappears.org/

Photo: Madame Rea (http://apathappears.org/)

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions!

“Talent is universal, opportunity is not.”

Who should watch: High school students (with parental consent) and adults

Why it’s important: The second installment of the A Path Appears series explores the connections between poverty and other barriers (education, healthcare, etc.) that are faced by countless across the globe.

What Maggie thought: A Path Appears: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty is a must-see and worthy follow-up to WuDunn and Kristof’s Half the Sky (documentary and film). This episode sheds light on the challenges faced by individuals living in extreme poverty in the U.S. (specifically West Virginia), Haiti, and Colombia.

The first location for this installment is in West Virginia, which is one of the poorest regions of the United States because of coal mines closing, manufacturing plants moving, and an overall lack of available jobs. As Jennifer Garner (native to the area) explains, “Poverty is not about not having money, but it’s about not having hope.” Kristof and Garner introduce us to Lynn, a young mother who is doing all she can to stop the cycle of poverty with her daughter by making education a priority. This part of the episode will be eyeopening for most who have not seen such extreme poverty in the United States.

Next, Kristof is off to Haiti to explore the history of aid and its impact on the country’s economic opportunities. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but the presence of countless development organizations has not changed its course. Kristof meets Madame Rea, a woman who runs a school for every child, no matter their financial situation. (In Haiti there is no public school system.) Madame Rea is an advocate for her students, which viewers see when she fights for the safety of a student who is a restavek (child slave). Madame Rea and her fellow Haitians prove that locally-led solutions are the best solutions.

Kristof wraps up this episode in Colombia to share how the Fundación Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar is providing opportunities for teen mothers. Young women in the program have access to job training, counseling, healthcare, and more. Fundación Juanfe is working to empower young women with children while also educating girls on how to stop the cycle of teenage pregnancy (and extreme poverty) in their community. This organization is a great example of a holistic approach to tackling a complicated problem.

Did you get the chance to see this episode? If so, what did you think?

Maggie Broderick, NGC Development & Operations Manager, reviewed A Path Appears to learn more about her click here.

A Path Appears: Sex Trafficking in the USA (Part I) Review

Photo: http://apathappears.org/film/

Photo: Shana a.k.a Shelley Money (http://apathappears.org/film/)

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions!

“If that (prostitution) is your choice, then what are your options?”

Who should watch: High school students (with parental consent) and adults

Why it’s important: The first installment of the A Path Appears series explains the landscape of sex trafficking in the United States by sharing stories of survivors, government officials, and nonprofit organizations.

What Maggie thought: A Path Appears: Sex Trafficking in the USA is a must-see and worthy follow-up to WuDunn and Kristof’s Half the Sky (documentary and film). As in the previous documentary, A Path Appears highlights gender equality issues around the world, but in this episode, Kristof and WuDunn shed light on a prevalent problem in many viewers’ backyards: sex trafficking in the United States.

As discussed in the film, Westerners often assume that this crime is not committed in their own country. Nevertheless, Sex Trafficking in the USA shares facts that directly disprove that belief. For example, it is stated that an estimated 300,000 individuals are trafficked within the United States every year. An interviewee and survivor, Shana (formerly “Shelley Money”), is the ideal person to teach viewers. She succinctly explains the complexity of the problem by describing how her experience was connected to child abuse, addiction, and poverty. Through these personal accounts, it is easier to identify with the survivors rather than view them as part of a large problem that cannot and/or should not be solved.

The facts and stories shared in this film can be overwhelming, but watching Sex Trafficking in the USA is the first step in understanding the issue and identifying how each person can support its eradication.

Did you get the chance to see this episode? If so, what did you think?

Maggie Broderick, NGC Development & Operations Manager, reviewed A Path Appears to learn more about her click here.

The Yellow Birds Review

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions!

Author: Kevin Powers

“There is a sharp distinction between what is remembered, what is told and what is true.” 

Who should read: 10th – 12th graders

Why it’s important: Deals with Global Issue of Armed Conflict

What Lisa thought : Kevin Powers provides a gripping narrative of a soldier in the 2004 Iraq conflict. This account is graphic, exact, and personal, incisively conveying the emotion involved in armed conflict and the aftermath of fighting in the lives of soldiers and those around them. Themes of PTSD, the emotional toll of conflict, and uncertainty of purpose are revisited throughout the novel. This novel can be a difficult read in terms of emotional content, but it leaves the reader with a greater understanding of the horrors of war and their long-lasting effects.

Lisa Glenn, Director of Programs, reviewed The Yellow Birds to learn more about her click here.

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague Review

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions!

Year of Wonders

Author: Geraldine Brooks

“Here we are, alive, and you and I will have to make it what we can.”

Who should read: Seniors in High School

Why it’s important: Deals with Global Issue of epidemics.

What Lisa thought : Year of Wonders chronicles the year 1665-1666 in an isolated English village where Plague has been spread through an infected bolt of cloth. Geraldine Brooks masterfully displays the personal trauma and precaution involved in the spread of an unknown epidemic. Parallels can easily be drawn between the infection of this small town and larger epidemics across the world in the present day, including the need for clarity on causes of infection, presence of false beliefs and superstitions, strained interpersonal relationships, and economic impact of the disease. I was struck by the very personal nature of the Plague and the overwhelming feelings of fear associated with transmission. In keeping with the period, much of the language is in archaic English, but is easily understandable using context clues. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about the spread of epidemics.

 

Lisa Glenn, Director of Programs, reviewed Year of Wonders to learn more about her click here

“Bang for Your Buck” Review

The NGC staff started the Documentary/Book Club to review resources we utilize in our programs and to find new ways to learn more about global issues. Feel free to email the reviewer (contact info below) if you have any follow-up questions! Directors: Seth Chase and Brice Blondel

“In the 4th poorest country in the world, one thing remains affordable to all: the grenade.”

Who should watch: High School students

Why it’s important: The documentary deals with Global Issue of Armed Conflict.

What Steven thought: This is a wonderful and short documentary that shows how weapons and violence are destructive to communities. The content is not visually graphic, but it does talk about deaths by grenades and other violent acts committed in Burundi. Talks about the negative consequences of having weapons easily available and the aftermath of an extensive civil war. Bang for Your Buck is the winner of Oxfam‘s “Shooting Poverty” film competition. Watch it here. To read more about where Seth Chase and Brice Blondel inspiration for their project click here.

Steven Rouk (steven@newglobalcitizens.org), NGC Intern, reviewed Bang for Your Buck.