As war rages on in Syria, many soldiers are badly wounded and have to face adjusting back to civilian life while overcoming disability. They’re forced to relearn simple tasks and have to work to provide for their families. Living a normal life is a daily struggle but they are determined to make it a happy one.
In Tanzania, the tradition of child brides is still prevalent. Despite strict laws against this practice, promising harsh punishment for grooms and parents, young girls are still married off to much older men. In exchange, the family of the bride receives cows that it considers more useful than their daughter.
The Giant Panda has been a symbol of wildlife protection for more than 50 years. It has survived in just one country: China, and its future is constantly threatened by human activity and climate change. In September 2016, the adorable and placid bamboo eating bear was taken off the endangered species list, a huge victory for conservationists and the Chinese Government; offering hope that other animals on the brink of extinction can also be saved.
If you want to stay, you have to pay. Non-EU spouses of British citizens have no automatic right to live and work in the UK. Among numerous other conditions, the British spouse must earn £18,600 a year for their other half to receive a working visa. Less than half of Britain’s working population earns this much. It means thousands of loving families are forced apart every year.
In modern-day Albania, a medieval tradition has survived to this day in which a woman can take a man’s place as the head of a family. Surprisingly, a few women still observe the custom, they’re known as sworn virgins. Under the strict rules of a centuries-old code, they sacrifice their own identities to stand in for brothers who have died. Most had to make the choice at a very early age. They did it to help their families but it comes at a price, they can never have children of their own.
To them, boxing is more than just a sport: it gives freedom, empowerment and the confidence to stand up for themselves. They're the students of Karachi’s first boxing school for girls. Training here, they feel better able to protect themselves but more than that, they also know they achieve more than what their conservative society expects of them.
Every year, crowds from around the world flock to the small Serbian town of Guca, for its famous, annual trumpet festival. The lively, upbeat music makes for a great summer event and gives less-known bands a chance to get noticed and make it big. But behind the fun and carefree festive atmosphere, few people see the gruelling demands placed on the musicians dedicated to their art.
Like most students in rural Nepal, Durge Kami is a diligent pupil who tries to listen to his teachers. He differs from his school mates in just one respect, he is 69! At such a ripe old age, he was determined to realise his life’s ambition to complete his education. Not everyone supported him at first but by doing what he loves he’s become an inspiration for kids and adults alike.
In Vietnam, Phuc Tong made a cemetery for unborn babies. His country, where poverty and social stigma push women to terminate unplanned pregnancies, has the highest abortion rate in Asia. He has dedicated his life to helping young mothers and their babies. He offers shelter and tries to convince women to keep their children, even if that means raising them himself.
A cathedral founded on pure faith and its creator who’s dedicated more than 50 years of his life to building it. 91-year-old Don Justo, of the small Spanish town of Mejorada del Campo, is a former monk. On a whim and a dream he decided to build a monumental house of God and since 1961, he’s been doing just that using scrap, recycled building materials and as much good will as he can find.
The creative vision of one man transformed a community of farmers into a centre of modern art. Russian artist Nikolay Polissky turned his village into an artistic colony, where residents are the co-authors of his monumental nature-inspired sculptures. Twice a year, the village holds the largest Land-Art festival in Russia - Archstoyanie.
Cambodia, with its cheap labour, is an attractive place for many international fashion brands to manufacture their clothes. However, low production prices are often only achieved by violating workers’ rights. Most women working in clothes factories are fired as soon as they get pregnant.
When kids are accused of witchcraft in Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo, they’re thrown out of their homes. They beg and steal in the streets, where might is right. The aim of the country’s first centre for homeless children is to bring them back to their families. But superstition in Congolese society is hard to combat.
Colombia has been in a state of civil war for over half a century. The biggest and most influential of the rebel groups that oppose the government is the FARC-EP. Since 2012, it’s been in peace talks with the government. We met with the rebels (almost half of whom are women) to find out why they joined the fight and what their hopes are for the long-awaited peace.
The city of Flint in Michigan, US, has a water crisis. It’s been going on since 2014 when residents were switched to a cheaper supply but it took a year before the authorities admitted there was a problem. As a result, thousands were exposed to lead poisoning, carcinogenic chemicals and legionella bacteria. Miguel Francis-Santiago investigates what caused the problem, its dire consequences and why they tried to cover it up.
Ziona Chana is head of the largest family in the world, leader of a religious commune in India and, according to some, he’s God himself. Hundreds of followers pray to him and worship him as an immortal deity. RT Doc visits the polygamous “New Generation” cult he founded at the foot of the Himalayas.