The connection between Zakia and Firoza becomes instantly evident when you see them talk to each other. Firoza listens intently as Zakia speaks in a soft, empathetic tone. For Firoza, Zakia is not only a manager apa (sister) from BRAC - she is the only person who she trusts completely.
Poverty is opportunity. Sure, one can take a kaleidoscopic peek into the word's denotation, but poverty instigates and propels action intended for positive change. Today, around 700 million people are thought to live in extreme poverty, defined as surviving on less than USD 1.90 a day. In 1990, that statistic was more than 1.9 billion.
It was the summer of 1975. I was working in Oxford with a student group campaigning on world poverty and in support of liberation movements in Africa and Asia. Oxfam House was just down the road. They were recruiting an assistant to work in Saigon.
People are often very rude about ‘big push’ approaches to development – the idea that you can kickstart a country (or a millennium village) by simultaneously shoving in piles of different projects, technical assistance and cash. The approach hasn’t got a great track record, but now a kind of micro Big Push, targeting the ‘ultra poor’ in a range of countries, is showing some really promising results.
We do a great deal to raise awareness and warn future generations that our planet’s natural resources cannot be replenished. Climate change is a daunting reality and we have to be conscious of our carbon footprint... the list of issues to reckon with is exhaustive.