These Afghan girls have to reject their femininity and pretend to be male. They are called Bacha Posh. In Afghanistan’s traditional patriarchal society, many women can’t leave the house without a male accompanying them. For this reason, if a family has no son, a daughter is often appointed to play his role. Having tasted freedom, some of the girls never want to go back.
As Peru’s president in the 1990s, Alberto Fujimori introduced a surgical contraception programme to fight poverty – purportedly on a strictly voluntary basis. However, thousands of indigenous women from Peru’s poorest villages are now coming forward with horror stories describing forced sterilisations.
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.
RT’s crew filming outside Bolivia’s Sierro Rico silver mines, the highest in the world. The mines are basically unregulated, with children as young as 10 working in the shafts with minimal safety equipment. Bolivia’s Children’s Code is designed to prevent young people doing these dangerous jobs but many poor kids have little choice. They either work or go hungry.
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.
E-waste (discarded electronic appliances) is often shipped by developed nations to poorer countries such as Ghana. Locals call its most infamous dumping ground, Agbogbloshie, “Sodom and Gomorrah” after the Biblical sin cities. Its air and soil are polluted with toxic chemicals, while child labour and criminal gangs are also rife.
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.
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.
Pianist Vladislav Teterin’s foundation, 'World of Art', is a very special charity for disabled children. It gives young singers and musicians a chance to shine on stage and to show the whole world that their physical disabilities are no barrier to them developing their talents.