Det er fredags ettermiddag og blomsterbrua er tett trafikkert av smilende mennesker med solbriller og sneakers. Midt blant travende, våryre trøndere står en ung stolt elvesame iført gomager og kikker rett inn en kvinnelig fotografs canonlinse. Maria Louise Somby (27) flyttet fra Kautokeino til Trondheim for å studere fotografi sommeren 2011. Den gang ante hun lite om at hennes samiske identitet skulle vise seg å bli så framtredene i bildespråket hennes.
Thanks to new investment by the Danish government, drug users in Denmark’s largest cities have access to new facilities where they can safely take illegal drugs such as heroin while under supervision. The projects get drug users off the streets and have already proved a remarkable success in that 30 people’s lives have been saved.
In California, USA, there are attempts to repeal legislation that disallows family’s receiving welfare from extra financial support for babies. Rules state that any child born in a home where someone is receiving aid is not eligible for an additional grant. The financial help denied under this rule amounts to $122 per month. But who should judge a woman’s right to conceive children?
In America’s suburbs, poverty is growing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2011, the number of poor people living in suburban areas rose by 67 percent—twice the growth rate of cities. According to a new study, more impoverished people now live in US suburbs than in the nation’s largest cities. Meeting the needs of rapidly growing numbers of poor people has stretched the resources of nonprofits to the extent that even finding food is increasingly problematic for some of the most marginalized people.
Reggie is a homeless man in America’s capital city, Washington DC, where an estimated one fifth of residents live in poverty. He sells Street Sense but has also worked as an “amateur journalist”. Reggie says he enjoys the challenge of reporting news and working with a computer design program to lay out newspaper pages. His dream is to one day enter the world of politics and fight against homelessness.
In the African nation of Sierra Leone, hundreds of street children are regularly abused as sex slaves, forced to work for nothing and used in witchcraft rituals. It is estimated there are as many as 2,500 children sleeping rough every night in the capital, Freetown, alone, although other estimates put the figure significantly higher. Charities blame the crisis on human traffickers and are desperately trying to stem the tide of human misery.
Organic waste is being converted into fuel to save money in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Pigs were once the linchpin of Cairo’s traditional waste management system but a nation-wide pig cull by the government in April 2009, resulted in vast amounts of waste clogging the city’s sewers and landfills. The population looked for solutions so now kitchen waste – everything from food scraps, to stale tea and mouldy bread – is turned into methane gas for cooking.
Italian prisons are the most crowded in Europe with occupancy at more than 142 percent of capacity. There are close to 67,000 prisoners in jails built to hold 45,000 people. The government declared a state of emergency due to overcrowding in 2010 and drew up a plan to create 9,000 new places in 11 new prisons. But due to the nation’s financial crisis construction is yet to begin.
In the last few months, Kuwait has deported thousands of mainly low-paid Asian workers. The oil-rich country relies heavily on foreign workers but pressure to limit their numbers has been growing. Some Kuwaitis argue that too many workers are a burden on the state. They say that instead of bringing in foreigners, Kuwait should be trying harder to cut unemployment among its own nationals.
In Nashville, Tennessee, immigrant families are being helped to integrate into American society by a nonprofit called Conexión Américas. The organization helps people through a variety of programs including English classes, financial education, legal help and entrepreneurship opportunities. Conexión Américas also helps people to realize their dreams and buy homes.
Lenders who charge extortionate interest rates of more than 4000 percent to people struggling financially are making vast profits during the UK’s economic crisis. The investigation was carried out by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (aka the Bureau), a not-for-profit media group in London, UK. The Bureau’s research into payday loan companies reveals that high street banks have invested heavily in the industry. US companies, some banned by law from issuing payday loans in America, are also investing in Britain’s less regulated market, as have international businessmen including some from eastern Europe, a South African mining company president, and US venture capitalist Don Valentine – who made his name funding Apple, Google and YouTube.
Eve Ensler is an American playwright, author and activist who’s famous across the world for her play, The Vagina Monologues. Ahead of a recent visit to America, she spoke to Real Change in Seattle about her new book – In the Body of the World: A Memoir – which documents recent momentous changes in her life. These include visiting the Congo in Africa to help female victims of rape and torture and a personal cancer diagnosis that profoundly shocked her.
A campaign to end the sexist way shops market toys and clothes for children is five years old. PinkStinks has had its successes – but its founders tell Femke Colborne that there’s a long way to go before boys and girls are treated on equal terms.
Arguably the most gifted athlete in the world, Usain Bolt won three gold medals and broke three world records at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China. He became the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100m and 200m races in world record times, and was part of Jamaica’s 100m relay team that smashed the world record. In 2012, Bolt created history again at the London Olympic Games by defending all three Olympic titles, and in doing so he achieved legendary status. In an exclusive interview with INSP’s Amy Mackinnon, Bolt talked about sprinting and how he’s committed to helping Jamaica’s children.
Terry O'Neill is a Briton recognised as one of the world’s greatest photographers. He became famous during the 1960s after documenting the fashions of the era and celebrities such as The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Raquel Welch. O’Neill spoke to the Big Issue in Britain ahead of the release of his new book – Terry O’Neill: An A to Z of Fame – which documents the best of his images from a brilliant career.
Marie Colvin, described as the ‘greatest war correspondent of her generation’, was killed in a rocket attack in February 2012 while reporting on the desperate suffering of civilians inside the besieged city of Homs, Syria. Under the Wire is war photographer Paul Conroy’s gripping, visceral and moving account of his friendship with Marie, and the final year he spent working alongside her. INSP’s Amy MacKinnon interviewed Conroy about his new book.
Eric Weires recently left his family and comfortable life in Chicago to sleep rough on the streets of Washington, USA. Weires – a company CEO – was taking part in Homeless Challenge, a project that lets people experience the harsh realities of homelessness. The National Coalition for Homelessness has led Homeless Challenge in America’s capital for more than three decades, and for 48 hours, Weires – the first CEO in Homeless Challenge history – was on the streets largely invisible and powerless, his thoughts and talents masked by rumpled clothes and empty pockets.
The UK has spent almost £2bn housing homeless families in short-term temporary accommodation, according to new figures that demonstrate the scale of Britain's housing crisis. The investigation was carried out by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), a not-for-profit organisation in the UK that produces high-quality investigations for the press. Rising private rents, a shortage of affordable housing and benefit cuts have forced councils to place thousands of people in B & B accommodation, hostels and shelters. TBIJ exposed the crisis and highlighted the fact that 76,000 children have been affected.
A pet can be a life saver to someone living on the street but across the world homeless people are often turned away from shelters due to rules that disallow animals. The fear of losing a pet can deter some from seeking sanctuary but in America new projects are recognising the importance of the bond between people and their animals.
Ndume Olatushani and Anne-Marie Moyes live on a quiet street in East Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Anne-Marie has lived there for years but Ndume is still relatively new to the neighborhood. He moved in on June 1st, 2012, the same day he was released from prison after serving nearly 28 years behind bars. Ndume’s time in jail included 20 years on death row awaiting execution, but all the time he was an innocent man. Unfortunately, Ndume’s story is far from unique in the US criminal justice system but he is rebuilding his life with the support of Anne-Marie, whom he met while in prison and who is now his wife.