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Society 19 March 2012 35 1200
"We live to survive." That is what many of them say. In the 19th century, the Lakota people were among the most successful fighters for freedom in the USA. But their land was eventually stolen, their language for years was forbidden to be taught in schools, and their freedom existed only on paper. This story was filmed during the first week of August in 2011 on the territory of Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. This is official land of the Oglala Lakota Nation nowadays.
Every year in August, Lakota people come to Pine Ridge from all over the world to celebrate their culture and traditions at the annual powwow. On the contrary of joy and happiness even during holiday there is a place for grief and misery. Many people have alcohol problems, there are no jobs or good housing. Lakota people are still fighting for their rights. But that gets harder to do every year.
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In Afghanistan women are not allowed to dance or go to parties so an old tradition kicks in, “bachas” are young boys who dress as women and dance for older men. Dancing though is not the only way the boys are used as substitutes.
RT Doc visits Angeles City in the Philippines, an infamous and popular sex tourism destination. The city is home to many children conceived by foreign holiday makers who took what they wanted and left offspring in their wake.
Some call it, “The Mine”, to others, it’s “the beast”, an infamous rubbish dump in Guatemala City, Central America’s biggest capital. For thousands of poor people it provides a livelihood. Raw sewage flows through the massive landfill and twice a year, floods cause deadly landslides.
RT takes an exclusive look at North Korea, the world’s most closed-off country. Life here is isolated from the outside world and every aspect of existence is regulated by order of the "Great Leader", from the art you’re allowed to see, the books you can read, even to your hairstyle.
North Koreans say they’re the happiest people in the world. Their great leader is like a father who takes care of them and all their needs. They’re told that he’s made their country the most powerful and economically developed on the planet. A quick look at the World Wide Web or any international media might lead to a different conclusion but in North Korea, they’re banned.
For 100 years, Jharia town in India has lived on top of a perpetually burning coal field. Once green and beautiful, the region is now scorched and barren, while its people are suffering from respiratory diseases. Despite the danger, most families daren’t relocate because coal provides their only means of income.
Child prostitution in Kenya has reached a shocking level. Extreme poverty and sex tourism lead to the sexual exploitation of children on a massive scale. RT Doc investigates what is being done about the problem and who profits from it.
According to a medieval Albanian tradition, a woman can take a man’s place as the head of a family if she renounces her womanhood, following strict rules laid down by a centuries-old code. Surprisingly, a few women, known as "sworn virgins" still observe the custom.
Tiny Migingo is one of the most densely populated islands in the world. In the middle of Lake Victoria, it’s home to Ugandan and Kenyan fishermen and their families. RT Doc’s Peter Scott paid a visit to find out how more than a thousand people live on a rock half the size of a football pitch.
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.
“Geological scandal” is a phrase often used to describe The Democratic Republic of Congo. It is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries with extensive deposits of gold, diamonds, tungsten and uranium amongst many others. The abundance of internationally valued minerals has however failed to bring any kind of prosperity. It began with colonial exploitation of the land and its people and continued in bloody civil war, the Congolese have harvested nothing from their country’s natural riches but misery and poverty.
The old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has a very literal meaning for the residents of one small town on the outskirts of Cairo in Egypt. Zabbaleen is home to a large community of rubbish collectors who gather and sort all of the capital’s waste. The process provides work for whole families.
The Favelas of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, are slums made up of self-built houses. Life here is largely controlled by criminal gangs. It’s the poorest members of society who live in the Favelas; they simply try to survive amid violent gunfights between drug lords and law enforcement.
When people are released from jail they have nowhere to live, no jobs and no opportunities to start over, so they are in danger of ending up behind bars again. Having been in their shoes once, Yury Potapenko knows just how much they need another chance and gives them one.
An estimated 290,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide in 20 years. Small farms used to be the country’s economic backbone but now, owners drown in debt. Many blame GMO cotton for the failing farms, having cornered the market and replaced organic crops; it has failed to live up to expectations.
In one of the most poverty-stricken slums in Kenya’s capital, elderly women are increasingly preyed upon by young men who believe that raping them can cure HIV. Things are starting to change, however. With the launch of self-defence courses, women are learning physical and psychological techniques to thwart predators, empowering victims to venture outside again.
They joined the army driven by a desire to serve their country and its people. However, the wars they were sent to made them re-evaluate everything they believed in. Now, US veterans are trying to come to terms with their past and learn how to live among civilians again. It turns out, they’ve no one to rely on but each other.