In the shadow of an active volcano, crushing poverty, and sporadic wars, Charlie Makongo founded a cycling club in the Congolese city of Goma to give its youth a beacon of hope. Concentrating on training distracts the boys from their harsh everyday lives and keeps them from joining armed groups. But a menacing cloud hangs over the project: Nyiragono is due for another eruption.
Members of the Goma Cycling Club in the Democratic Republic of Congo rise at dawn to train. It’s the safest time to be out on the roads in a city where drivers pay scant attention to bicycles. Many of the boys dream of becoming professional cyclists to escape the poverty and violence that dominates their lives. They push themselves to the limit to make it happen.
Bangladesh has no metal resources of its own, so the shipbreaking yards in Chittagong, its largest second city, generate high profits for their owners. Workers though, enjoy none of the benefits of that profit; wages are barely enough to live on and there are no health and safety regulations to protect them. Injuries are a frequent occurrence and even death is not uncommon.
Olga helps Aleksandr Ivanov, a former military officer who became homeless when a factory he worked at closed down. She gets him a train ticket so he can finally return home to his elderly mother. Anna helps Sergey to film, edit and publish his video. His song is dedicated to all the homeless people stuck in the world that society tries not to see.
Olga, the charity shop volunteer, speaks of her experience helping the homeless. Despite coming across rudeness and ungratefulness every time she distributes free clothes, she found she couldn’t just leave this job because she needs this opportunity to convince the homeless to change their lifestyle.
Anna and Sergey film a music video to showcase his talent as well as to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness. Aleksandr, who lied to his mother about his circumstances and lost his papers, decided to stay with the homeless for the winter. With this purpose in mind he’s building himself a house out of discarded doors.
Homeless Sergey came to Moscow in order to make it big. He is a singer, but the only place he has been singing in the capital is in the streets. Nevertheless, he doesn’t lose his optimism and drive. He is sure that he’ll eventually win Moscow over.
Anna is a volunteer who helps homeless people. She feeds and clothes them and tries to help them find work or encourage them to return home if they have one. She travels to one of the places where the homeless gather and build houses out of construction waste.
Compressor mining is a highly dangerous activity in which miners dive 30 feet underwater using only a plastic tube to breathe. Some stuff their ears with cotton and wear masks to protect their eyes. When they reach the bottom of the pit they dig out the earth and place it into rice sacks, which are hoisted to the surface for sifting. Divers get paid twice the amount of other workers.
Explore the Philippines’ deadly underwater gold mines. Here, locals dive 30 feet deep into muddy water in the hope of finding gold so they can feed their families. Our crew visited the gold town of Paracale in the coastal province of Camarines Nortes to find out how it works.
The earth is panned for gold on the surface. The process involves rotating a pan until the gold sinks to the bottom – one of the cheapest and easiest ways of extracting gold. Kids often start work by helping out in the panning areas before moving on to diving.
Funeral procession in Jose Panganiban for a 33 year old miner who died from tuberculosis after decades of mercury inhalation and exposure to contaminated water and soil. His family knew his job was dangerous but it was the only way they could make money. They have friends who are ‘in the same boat, waiting for death’.
“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.