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.
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.
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.
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.
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 as well as toys for the children and fodder for livestock.
Recently, the German city of Cologne made the news for a string of attacks against women that many blamed on migrants. The deepening refugee crisis is polarising German society. Still, no social tensions can stop the sweet celebration of Cologne’s famous Carnival, even if this year’s also came with a bitter pill.
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.
At the age of 15, Oleg and Polina have to get used to the adult responsibilities of parenthood. To help them adapt to their new life, Yulia steps in, a foster mother who has brought up 7 children and now hopes to make a difference for these young people and their baby daughter. She soon learns though that old habits die hard, and working through what they learned at the orphanage is a challenge.
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.
Egypt is a land where the concept of gender equality has barely taken root. It’s hard for women to make ends meet and even harder if they happen to be single parents. When Sisa’s husband died, leaving her alone to bring up and feed a young daughter, she came up with a novel solution; she became a man! For the next 43 years she pretended to be male. Now in her 60s, she has no doubts about living that lie, saying it was a far better choice than taking another husband.
Kosovo, with NATO’s help, won independence from Serbia in 1999. In 2014 Serbia opened its borders with the young republic allowing tens of thousands of migrants to leave Kosovo for Europe. Disenchanted Kosovars hoped to escape poverty and unemployment by seeking better lives abroad for themselves and their children. The massed departure has come to be known as “the Exodus”.
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 struggle to make even a meagre profit and drown in debt. For some, the pressure is too much. Many blame GMO cotton for the failing farms, having cornered the market and replaced organic crops; they have failed to live up to expectations.
Minister Steve, founder of “Tent City” for the homeless, lost his battle with the authorities and the makeshift settlement was torn down. Now he's built a raft to sail the perilous waters of the Intracoastal Waterway and raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in America. Flying a 13-star Betsy Ross flag, and with conquistador statue for protection, RTD's Aleksey Brazhnikov joins him as he embarks on his odyssey.