Coming soon on Witness
The lives of ordinary people, their unique stories and challenges.
Last updated: 10 Dec 2014 12:23
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback


Seizing Solar Power                                                                                        Sunday, December 7

Across Latin America the impact of poverty and climate change are bringing greater stress to rural communities. In arid northern Argentina, people have only one source of fuel; wood. It is often scrawny bushes that are increasingly hard to find. But the region also has a huge untapped resource – solar radiation – and Virginia Bauso’s mission is to harness its potential and promote solar energy as the main power source for entire villages: from kitchens and ovens to heating, lighting, hot water and even a public phone.

She roams the desert spreading innovative technology, including a “kiosk” she invented that cooks food using the sun’s rays. The community of Misa Rumi is now almost 100 percent solar-functional. Another village recently built a solar quinoa dryer, creating new opportunities for employment.

As deforestation and desertification continue to ravage Argentina and beyond, Bauso’s vision could play a major role in charting a sustainable path to energy independence. This film will explore how solar energy improves rural life on multiple levels by documenting its impact – in the fields of agriculture, education, health and business, as well as power – and contrasting this with isolated communities that are yet to adopt Bauso’s groundbreaking tools.

Seizing Solar Power can be seen from Sunday, December 7 at the following times GMT: Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930; Tuesday: 0330 and Wednesday: 1630.

Unbearable Presence of Asmahan                                                          Wednesday, December 10

As times harden in the Arab world, people have begun to recall the greatest diva of all time: Asmahan, the Syrian princess who emigrated to Egypt in the twenties and became an entertainer.

Today, traces of the Cairo that Asmahan once loved are difficult to find in the blanket of apathy that weighs on the city.
It was in Cairo that Asmahan sang her famous song Euphoric Nights in Vienna (1944), in which she manufactured an Arab fantasy for the European city. Today, many Arabs go to Vienna in search of the dream whispered to them by the greatest diva.

But things are not quite that simple. Asmahan is not the angel everyone imagines her to be. Behind her angelic face are dark secrets, and it is time we stopped being manipulated by Asmahan's unbearable presence.

Unbearable Presence of Asmahan can be seen from Wednesday, December 10 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

Xmas Without China                                                                                  Wednesday, December 17

Imagine living a month without the ubiquitous 'Made In China' label on anything you purchase. Now imagine that month is December.

One All-American family accepts this challenge from Chinese immigrant Tom Xia, who moved to the US as a boy and wanted to explore the material relationship between his new home and his native one.

The rules: One family must remove everything made in China from their home (temporarily) while not purchasing anything new with that label for an entire holiday season.

There is comedy and tragedy, but more than that as questions of family, success, and consumerism swirl around the idea of personal identity. 

Xmas Without China can be seen from Wedneesday, December 17 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

Mexico’s Crossroads                                                                                         Sunday, December 21

Today in Guadalajara, Mexico there are very few prospects for the very poor, especially those with young children.If you go through the city you will often find young mothers working at the city's busy crossroads, washing windscreens for a few pesos and huddling on the streets with their small children at night.

There are limited options to find stability and opportunity in a country where millions of people face poverty and see life on the street as the only way to survive. Otilia Arellano has spent most of her 50 years living on these streets. Today though she is building a different way to live. She is the leader of a self sustaining group home where the otherwise homeless and destitute of Mexico's second largest city pool their meagre resources and their shared dreams to make a new life and build a new 'family'.

In Mexico's Crossroads, we explore the day to day life inside this unique group home as the residents struggle to support themselves. Most spend their days selling cheap goods on the street, dodging deadly traffic to make a sale in a practise known as “cruising.”

We see this expereince up close through the experience of a new resident, Alba. We join her story from shortly after she arrives until her daughter is able to attend school for the first time many months later. We witness their family struggle such as the pressing need to find a stable job and over having her children taken away by the authorities because they spend their days on the streets. Along the way we will see how this ramshackle house becomes a home and how the desperate become a family.

Mexico’s Crossroads can be seen from Sunday, December 21 at the following times GMT: Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930; Tuesday: 0330 and Wednesday: 1630. 

Dust in the Lung                                                                                         Wednesday, December 28

An estimated six million people in China suffer from pneumoconiosis or Black Lung Disease. After reporting on this disease, Wang Keqin, was compelled to launch an online civil movement to increase public awareness and set up a dedicated fund to provide victims with medical aid.

He is committed to raising public awareness through fund raising events and visiting villages in rural China affected by the disease. Wang remains uncertain about how his efforts are helping to fight what is now the deadliest workplace disease in China.

This is the story of one newsman and his fight for the workers of China.

Dust in the Lung can be seen from Wedneesday, December 28 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.
join our mailing list