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What are you giving for Christmas?

Clean water would be a fantastic gift. Check out Water for People.

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Share your ideas for creative gifts that make a difference!

Date

Monday 19.12.2011 | 16:21

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Colombian theater teacher passes down his native culture

Edwin from Bogota teaches theater – but also the ancient values and traditions of his native Muisca culture. He’s stood up to threats from criminal organizations and encourages his students to be better human beings.

Listen to the report from DW reporter Pablo Medina Uribe in Bogotá, Colombia (with contributions from Eduardo Briceño):

Colombian theater teacher passes down his native culture

Edwin in Bogota

From the reporter:

I met Edwin a few months back when I was reporting on a series of threatening letters sent to artistic foundations in Bogotá. When I met him, he was the spokesperson for all of the threatened groups, so he was being harassed by a few journalists and national TV cameras. On TV, he said, “My name is Colombian Theater” and refused to give his real name because, he said, this wasn’t only his problem, it was everyone’s problem.

I still managed to get his number and real name and the way he spoke to the cameras stuck with me. Even in times of hardship, he was very conscious that he had to step up not for himself, but for his community of artists. That’s why I thought of him for the Generation Change series.

I went to visit him in his neighborhood, Bosa, a few months later. It is way out of the city towards the Southwest of the country, so I had passed it many times, but I had never been actually there. He insisted we meet there because that land is very important to who he is, but since I’d never heard a good thing about that neighborhood, I didn’t know what to expect.

When I got there, he started talking about his Muisca heritage and about how the indigenous people are still relevant to the community there. I knew that in other places of the country it is more common to live close to native tribes, but I wasn’t aware that this happens also in my own city.

Edwin and his friend Yohanis talked to me for hours as we discussed not only their work, but also Muisca philosophy. We also exchanged book titles and talked about our work. I told Edwin I was very interested in linguistics, so he and Yohanis gave me some lessons in Muiscogun, the language of the Muisca people, and taught me the deeper spiritual meaning of some of its words.

See the Bosa neighborhood of Bogotá on Google Maps here.

Date

Tuesday 13.12.2011 | 13:25

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Afghan street artist longs to share her work

A 23-year-old Afghan graffiti artist longs to share her work at home, but she faces harsh restrictions. Instead, she sets up private exhibitions to give other women courage to be bold and colorful.

Afghan street artist longs to share her work

Shamsia

Shamsia is freer to share her work in Germany than in Afghanistan

Work by Shamsia

Shamsia says she invented a new kind of graffiti

Date

Wednesday 07.12.2011 | 12:42

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German student becomes inspirational mentor

This week, Generation Change focuses on Jens Hagel, a third year medical student in Berlin. Even though Jens works night shifts at a Berlin hostel to support his studies, he also finds time to coach Ibrahim, a 16 year old pupil who needs his help for school. The two were brought together by ROCKYOURLIFE, an organization that matches up university students with under-privileged pupils, for one-on-one academic assistance and support.

Listen to the report by Leah McDonnell:

German student becomes inspirational mentor

Jens and Ibrahim often meet at the hostel where Jen works

To learn more about this mentoring program, visit rockyourlife.net.

Date

Tuesday 29.11.2011 | 17:37

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Saving Sea Turtles in Hainan

Frederick Yeh is an American-Chinese biomedical engineer who was driven into conservation work on a trip back to Hainan to visit family. He had happy memories of Hainan’s Sea Turtles from early childhood, but was shocked to discover that locals – who were hard up against the realities of a struggling fishing industry – were selling the turtles and no one was doing anything about it.

Check out the report by Jennifer Dunn in Hainan:

Saving endangered Sea Turtles in Hainan

Sea Turtles face threats like fishing nets, pollution and poaching.

Frederick founded the organization Sea Turtles 911.

If you want to know more about Frederick’s work, you can visit seaturtles.org.

Date

Wednesday 23.11.2011 | 14:25

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Turning trash into treasure

It’s a dirty but lucrative business. Solomon Tetteh works in the waste processing sector in Accra. He holds a university degree, but Solomon was not able to find a job. At first, his friends were not really supportive when he dreamed about building up his own business. Now, a year later, he is not only self-employed, he has also managed to create jobs for several garbage men, giving them the opportunity to support their families. Solomon also promotes environmental awareness in Ghana by distributing free garbage cans in schools. He wants young people to learn early how to separate garbage and leave the land clean.

Turning trash into treasure with a new business initiative

Solomen Tetteh has a knack of turning trash into treasure

Vist onmedia.dw.com/english to see Richard Ocloo, Janehin Stephen and Bazuaye Darryl’s video report about Solomon.

Date

Tuesday 15.11.2011 | 19:57

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Young engineer helps India’s poor

Mathew decided to return to India and help the poor gain access to education and health services. Before embarking on the project, he tried to find out what it was like below India’s poverty line.

Young engineer helps India’s poor

Matthew (right) and his friend Tushar

Matthew (right) and his friend Tushar

Matthew's clothes line

Matthew does all his chores himself

From DW reporter Pia Chandavarkar in India:

When the Indian government’s Planning Commission recommended that the official poverty level start with those who earn a mere 65 cents per day, many were up in arms, saying the figure was too low and unreasonable. Amidst this debate, I found it interesting to see two people who went beyond arguing and tried it out themselves. When I found out they were doing this for a larger cause, I was even more intrigued. Mathew and Tushar had also spent three weeks living on the average Indian income of $2 a day in the city of Bangalore before moving on to the final phase of their project – 65 cents a day. People talk of a brain drain in India, but it’s encouraging to see talented youth return to their homeland, inspired to make a difference.

Back porch

The two live in modest accommodations

Matthew eating

Living at the poverty level means there is no money for meat

Check out Mathew and Tushar’s blog here.

Date

Tuesday 08.11.2011 | 15:30

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Swiss urban planner remakes São Paulo’s poorest neighborhoods

What does ‘Architecture for All’ mean in a city like São Paulo, the largest in Brazil? It’s home to a population of 20 million, one third of whom live in the shanty towns known as favelas. Fabienne Hoelzel, an urban planner from Switzerland shows us how São Paulo is improving living conditions in the favelas and what the locals are doing to help.

Is your city in need of a project like this?

Date

Monday 07.11.2011 | 16:30

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Connecting African youth for climate

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Are you between 13 and 35 and have a great idea for how to help the planet and prevent climate change? Connect4Climate is holding a contest ahead of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa. The contest runs through November 15.

Here’s Connect4Climate’s website.

You can submit your entry in the form of videos or photos on their Facebook page.

And don’t forget to share your great idea on the Generation Change blog, too!

Date

Friday 04.11.2011 | 14:00

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Survivors teach Khmer Rouge history to Cambodia’s teachers

Cambodia adopted a standard curriculum to help students learn about the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. To make sure the message gets across, victims of the regime’s crimes tell their stories to teachers.

Khmer Rouge history

How do you teach the next generations about a country’s dark secrets from the past? Has your country dealt with anything similar?

Read more from Cambodia here.

Date

Thursday 03.11.2011 | 13:47

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