For the past nine years, 27-year-old Jignesh has been hawking bed sheets on the bustling pavements of Janpath, a major throughway in India’s capital, New Delhi, as kamikaze traffic swirls around him.
It’s called the urban survival gap – fuelled by the growing inequality between rich and poor in both developing and developed countries – and it literally determines whether millions of infants will live or die before their fifth birthday.
While the United Nations claims to have met the Millennium Development Goal target of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers well ahead of the 2020 deadline, the fact remains that millions around the world continue to live in informal, overcrowded and unsanitary housing conditions.
Rapid migration to cities and towns, driven by scarce public services and jobs in rural areas, is producing a profound social shift in Pacific Island countries, where agrarian life has dominated for generations. But the urban dream remains elusive as a severe lack of housing forces many into sprawling, poorly-serviced informal settlements.
A new social programme launched by the Argentine government to fight hard-core poverty is providing unemployed mothers who are heads of households with education, training, work and an income.
The air is heavy with the smell of marijuana as Gibrilla (23) expertly rolls a large joint at the Members of Blood (M.O.B) gang base in a poor neighbourhood of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.
The old adage ‘nature is the great equaliser’ no longer holds true in countries like Sri Lanka, where the poor bear the brunt of extreme weather events.
Climate proofing this bustling port city is a daunting task for planners who must consider factors ranging from proneness to flooding and administrative malaise to the fact that 60 percent of its 18 million people live in slums.
In an informal settlement of 10,000 people on the outskirts of Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, Tembari Children’s Care – a new grassroots initiative – is providing protection, food and education to orphans and abandoned children who would otherwise join the high numbers of child labourers in this Melanesian country.