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Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

LANDFILL HARMONIC: Inspiring dreams one note at a time!

A heartfelt & moving story of how instruments made from recycled trash bring hope to children whose future is otherwise spiritless.

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

An inspiring video of using the "trash" in the landfills of these slums to make life just a little bit better. They have recycled the trash around them to create musical instruments that they then use in music classes that make school and life for the kids a lot better. They are learning to play the violin even though a violin is worth more than their home. It is inspiring to see, and it is interesting to realize how much music has changed these people's lives while many music programs in the US are in danger of getting cut. A great video to watch and to see how an oil barrel with a couple of pieces of wood and some string can sound exactly like a cello!

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 2014 11:21 AM

This video was very moving.  I was surprised how the recycled instruments sounded exactly like the real things.  I think this should make us think about how much of the trash we generate could be put to some use besides rotting in a landfill.  It also shows the ingenuity of people to find a use for a resource even if that resource is trash.  It just goes to show that the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is true.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 2014 12:11 PM

This is really cool.  You would think that people living on a pile of trash would be really miserable and have a negative outlook on life, which in a way these kids probably do.  However they have found a way to bring joy to their lives and bring them closer together.  Going through the trash they are sometimes lucky enough to find actual instruments that have been thrown away, but more times than others only find pieces they can use.  Taking the pieces of trash that they find and turning them into instruments to make music is the highlight of most of these kids day.  They go to show that they can live in the worst of the worst but that doesn't mean that that will stop them from becoming something in life.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 5, 2014 10:59 AM

It is fascinating to see how a community living in very poor conditions have found a way to make their society and culture flourish. Where most residents make a living sorting through garbage, they have found a way to use that same trash to create instruments and an orchestra, adding rich culture to their community and giving the youth opportunities they would not have otherwise. It shows that while a community may live in less than ideal conditions, it is still possible to have a thriving culture.

Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

A Life Revealed

A Life Revealed | Seeing the World More Clearly |
Seventeen years after she stared out from the cover of National Geographic, a former Afghan refugee comes face-to-face with the world once more.


The original cover is one of the more famous National Geographic photos of all time, and yet the woman in the photograph has not lived a life as though millions of people could recognize her eyes.  This is her story. 

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

Both these two pictures and the article illustrate the life of Afghan refugees. There is only a fifteen year difference between the two pictures, and this woman looks as if she has aged much more than those fifteen years. The picture shows the hardships she has gone through, and the article goes more in depth and describes her day to day life, and knowing her life is important. The life of one ordinary person gives great insight into the culture and society of Afghan refugees, and those all around her. However, even without the article, the picture illustrates so much about life as a refugee that words cannot describe. This shows new insights and perspectives of the world around us.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 18, 2014 3:49 PM

The image of the Afghan Girl is easily recognizable and greatly popular, even to those born after it was made the cover of an issue of National Geographic.   It is mind boggling that the Afghan Girl had no idea she was on the cover of one the most notable publications of our time.  It is disheartening that they sought to find her so long after the fact.  I can only imagine how much money that image drew in, and how little she received for being the muse.  The image now is still just as powerful, if not even more powerful.  Her experiences have taken their toll and it is evident.  Her eyes still are haunting, this time less with beauty and more with hardship.  The photos of her show that images can sometimes convey emotions and meaning far more than words ever could.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 3, 2014 1:58 PM

You can see in this woman's face that the years have been hard for her living as refugee. Although this seems like National Geographic giving themselves a pat on the back it is important to remember that this women became a national symbol for refugees and yet her life did not improve and furthermore she had no idea that her picture was so well known.

David Lizotte's curator insight, February 27, 6:36 PM

I never would have imagined the "Afghan girl" being alive. It's amazing how National Geographic was able to catch up and speak with her and photograph her. This demonstrates the pure professionalism and global outreach national geographic has. 

One of the things I am most thankful about is that I do not live in a war torn society. Being separated from my family, forced to flee and become a refugee is a horrid way of life that I know I would struggle to endure. Some Afghanistan people have been doing this for over twenty years. 

One time I was having a discussion with my friend. We talking about America and the westernized part of the world. He and I agreed how lucky we were to be born in America. We were born white males in the United States of America. We could have been born a woman living in Iran or Iraq, or even as a little rural Afghan boy whom would eventually be taken and abused by theTaliban. We kept going on with different scenarios and different countries. 

Want I want for people to realize is how advanced the United States of America is. Yes, we have our problems... but non comparable to other nations. Look at nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. These are first world nations which have war torn regions occupied by terrorists of all sorts. They also have little to no functioning government, although Afghanistan is improving. Even second world nations, although developing at a steady pace are plagued with an exponential amount of violent crimes and corruption. South Africa would be a prime example. 

Its amazing to read about the "Afghan girl"(s) or better yet Sharbat Gula. After all she has gone through she still has hope for her younger children. After enduring such a life of foul experiences she is still able to place all her faith into Allah and hope for the best for her children. It is also neat to see her place such a high level of importance on education. Education is the foundation for all development. 

Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

Botswana's 'Stunning Achievement' Against AIDS

A decade ago, Botswana was facing a national crisis as AIDS appeared on the verge of decimating the country's adult population. Now, the country provides free, life-saving AIDS drugs to almost all of its citizens who need them.


This is a great example, and possibly a template on how to tackle the AIDS/HIV crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Botswana was as hard hit as any country, but they fully invested their economic initiatives into tackling this and actively changed cultural attitudes and behaviors that faciliate transmission.  Not all is 'doom and gloom' when looking at poverty and disease-stricken countries.   

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

    AIDS is spreading rapidly in Africa, and sometimes it seems as though no one is really doing anything to help. Botswana shows that there is a way to help and there is a way to lessen the impact that AIDS has on people's lives through government funded treatments.

     Botswana has spent a lot of money on HIV/AIDS research and treatments for their citizens, and the spread of the disease has drastically gone down since they have started their fight against it. They have especially decreased the AIDS tranmission from mother to child, so that the children born in the country have a better chance of surviving, and are not born with a death sentence. Also, people are living longer because less people are getting the disease and the people who do get the disease have access to the treatments that allow them to live longer.

      The access of medicine not only has an impact on the health of the country, it has an impact of each an every part. Since people live longer, there are more people working and building the economy and making the country better, and the society and country are more stable because there aren't so many people dying and so much fear about contracting AIDS.

      Also, other countries can look to Botswana as an example of how they can help their people, and the spread of AIDS can decrease across the continent. However, Botswana is a richer country because it has diamond reserves while other countries are poorer and may not be able to buy the medicines for all of the people. In addition, Botswanna is in the southern part of Africa and it has not been greatly affected by the Arab Spring. The countries that have had recent revolutions also may not be able to help with AIDS because they need to create stability and build governments first. Therefore, Botswana is a great step in the right direction and is a good model for other countries to follow, but there is a long way to go before the AIDS epidemic slows down.

James Hobson's curator insight, November 3, 2014 8:36 PM

(Africa topic 9)

This video illustrates many of the factor which have contributed to Botswana's success (as well as other nations' failures) against HIV/AIDS. Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS is not just a "yes or no" decision.

Many people live in areas where treatment is not available. Others live where treatment is available, but it is inconsistent or improper. And yet even some of those to whom proper treatment is available choose not to receive it.

Just as has been associated with cancer, many believe (and some statistics seem to support this, even if only indirectly) one's attitude is a major influence on one's outcome. The same can be said for the outcome of all those in a region as well. In this sense, a little can go a long way.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 2014 4:13 PM

Media often depicts Africa and the HIV/AIDS crisis as a hopeless, out of control issue. Despite the media, Botswana has actually almost reversed its AIDS issues with diligent work by the government. Instead of relying on foreign aid, Botswana took matters into its own hands. Knowing that its people's survival was on the line, the government put both money and resources into finding ways to stop the spread and to make the lives of those infected much better. By changing the cultural outlook on the virus, people are starting to seek help and to no longer fear those with the disease. Botswana's new challenge will be to educate its people so they do not underestimate the treatable virus and practice prevention. 

Melissa Marie Falco-Dargitz's curator insight, November 23, 2014 2:04 PM

Working with the government can help improve the lives of people. Availability of drugs across social strata helps. 

Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

My escape from North Korea

"As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was 'the best on the planet.' It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope."

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

A sad but also inspiring story and an enlightening video. I see a lot of people who assume that the North Korean government and the people are one and the same, and that is not the case. It is important to realise the harsh conditions of people living in North Korea to fully understand what is happening in that part of the world. It is hard for people to leave their country and their home, but as Hyeonseo Lee explains, sometimes there is no choice.

윤지현's curator insight, November 6, 2014 6:59 PM

I have ever met a person who escaped from North Korea. Her story was like a very scary movie. If I become a teacher in the future, I will do my best to a student from North Korea.

서병기's curator insight, November 6, 2014 7:00 PM

Because of the tragedies of history, there are still scattered family both in South and North Korea. Please hope for the unification of the Korean Peninsula.

Julia Kang's curator insight, November 6, 2014 8:45 PM

So many North Koreans are suffering from poverty. They do not have any food and we should pay more attention to them. This video was quite interesting!

Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

‘Forgotten Neighborhood’ Underscores Growing Poverty of Gaza

‘Forgotten Neighborhood’ Underscores Growing Poverty of Gaza | Seeing the World More Clearly |
A United Nations report cites widespread shortages of food, water, electricity, jobs, hospital beds and classrooms amid an exploding population in an area of Gaza.


While most slums are symptomatic of issues that would be addressed by an economic and urban geography analysis, the slums of Gaza are different.  Many slum issues are tied to city politics, but in Gaza these slums are also connected to some of the larger geopolitical issues of the region.  


Tags: Political, urban, squatter, poverty, MiddleEast, economic, place, unit 4 political, unit 7 cities.

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

People in the Gaza strip are already fearful Israel around them because of the fighting between the two areas. When people think of Gaza, they think of the Palestine-Israel conflict, but there is much more going on in Gaza. Israel blocks Gaza off from all forms of trade, and although they have a tunnel between them and Egypt, it is not enough. Therefore, there are slums where children do not go to school because their parents cannot afford it, people starve because they have no money to buy food, and people live in small shelters that they built out of some materials they put together and sleep on the ground. This is a squatter community, and, as the article states, there are squatter communities in worse shape, the problem here is that everyone is pointing fingers and no one is trying to fix the problem. Many state that Israel has caused this poverty because of their oppressive control of the area and others state that it is Gaza's government because they are corrupt and new and cannot or do not distribute their food well. This is a problem, but when no one takes the blame, innocent people suffer.

Jasmine GreenTea's curator insight, February 24, 2014 11:27 AM

Parents in Gaza are not sending their children to school because they have either no money for books, school fees or materials for their school. In Gaza, there is an exploding population in an area and also, people are living in slum conditions and there is a widespread of shortage of food, water, electricity, jobs, hospital beds and classrooms. The fact that the people in Gaza, slaughter lame horses and uses its meat for kebabs because they could not afford beef or lamb, extended my thinking in new directions.

The population of people who are more fortunate is definitely more than those people who are living in poverty. Therefore, I wonder why are those people who are fortunate, not willing to lend a helping hand to these people in Gaza who are living in such bad conditions.

Kayla, Sean, and Max's curator insight, February 24, 1:37 PM


As the population of "The Forgotten Neighborhood" continues to grow exponentially, living conditions only continue to get worse and worse. People go without food, water, or basic services, making the conditions there practically unlivable. Due to corruption and mismanagement, much of the aid sent there to help gets used elsewhere, which causes living conditions to stay poor.

Rescooped by Emma Lafleur from Geography Education!

Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

Decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan capital into a barely functioning dust bowl. The city's tired infrastructure is crumbling; water, sewers and electricity are in short supply.


Keeping an urban system running smoothly is a difficult proposition in developed countries that are stable--what is in like a place like Afghanistan?  This podcast is a excellent glimpse into the cultural, economic, environmental and political struggles of a city like Kabul.  This is urban geography in about a problematic a situation as possible.   

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

Once again, when most people think of the Middle East, they think of war and the dangers of being there. What they don't usually think of is how these wars affect the people. The environment of the Middle East is already harsh with limited access to water, becoming more so with shrinking rivers and lakes across the region. Then you add war to the mix so that governments focus their energy on fighting and have very little time to try to help the people. Consequently, we have places like Kabul that is crumbling and can barely support its people. People can just barely make ends meet week to week, they have very little. This isn't just some city in Afghanistan either, it is the capital. People everywhere are suffering from war and harsh climates, Kabul is just an example.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 2014 6:28 PM

(Central Asia topic 1 {5 topics from here & 5 from Russia merged})

I see a few similarities between what Kabul has experienced and the "favelas" in South America. Both experience a major lack of infrastructure, government support, and an increase in small, crowded, unstable housings. However, Kabul seems to be taking at least a small step forward, economically and spatially speaking. The video mentions how on the undeveloped periphery of the city, large developments have begun to take root. Being able to plan ahead allows for more efficiency and simplicity. One small example would be that of roads: why continue to put up with crowded, narrow,  winding streets (like those found throughout Boston and Providence historical areas) when wider, straighter, more accommodating ways can be had (like the perfectly straight, right-angled streets of more 'planned-out' cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix).

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, October 26, 2014 9:06 PM

Kabul, a once thriving city is now the product of a war torn Afghanistan. During the fighting mass exodus left the city empty and uninhibited. However, after the war civilians fled back to the slums of Kabul in search of job opportunities. With little infrastructure, no electricity, no water due to evapotranspiration and deforestation and a serious overcrowding problem, residents lack the essential resources needed to survive. Due to the cities destabilized economy corruption runs rampant, in consequence it is unsafe to live in the city center. The advocation for city services is high upon the minds of the people. In response, compounds have been made in the foothills to house impoverished people. These compounds will help the overcrowding problem but the informal economy and dangerous shortcuts will further cause destabilization and create an unsafe city center. 



Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 2014 1:32 AM

This audio clip provided a detailed view of the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. It doesn't speak of the city architecture instead it focuses on the failing logistics of the city. It talks about resource shortages and the sheer amount of people crammed within the city. These problems are largely caused by an influx of refugees from the war torn countryside flooding into the city for safety and work. This clip shows the Kabul of today, a ghost of its former prestigious self.