A Dollar A Day

“A Dollar a Day” is a poignant six-part international series of television documentaries that shows what it means to live under the poverty line. The series chronicles people as they face diverse challenges, from finding basic needs like clean water, to competing in international markets.

The main characters in the series are people like Maria Cabana in Bolivia, Kurshida Bano in India, Bulewla Sima in South Africa, Sédou Dembele in Mali, Li Jieli in China and Redjo Seferovic in Bosnia. It is their stories and the stories of their husbands, wives, and children. Each represents one of the 1.2 billion people in the world living on less that a dollar a day. They live in rural villages and in urban shanty towns, and all are typical: they have few belongings, limited education, little access to jobs or capital, and are ruled by heavily indebted governments that lack the capacity or effective plans to help their poorest citizens.

The six episodes are all structured around themes of access:

Bombay Jungle, filmed in the slums of Mumbai, looks at Access to Basic Needs from a human rights perspective. Kurshida Banu and her niece Saira are working to establish their identity so that they can be included in a relocation initiative to move out of the slums into new housing.  One has papers, but the other cannot prove that she officially exists, which makes a huge difference in their efforts. .

The New Silver, filmed in Bolivia, illustrates how Access to Capital can change the lives of both poor individuals and poor nations. Maria Cabana, whose husband is ill from working in the silver mines, seeks to secure a future for her children by starting a business with micro-credit loans. At the same time, Jaime Barrenechea, President of the State Gas and Oil Company, tries to balance the demands of the nations’ poor and the requirements of foreign investors as he seeks capital to exploit Bolivia’s natural gas reserves.

The Strongest Link, filmed in the shanty towns of South Africa, shows how Access to Healthcare can make a real difference in the future of a family and a community.  Bulewla Cima, a young woman with AIDS labors to keep the disease from infecting her unborn child. While government healthcare plans are slowly being implemented, the boundaries of the healthcare system fall far short of the townships’ needs.  Bulewia courageously works to educate her community in AIDS prevention and counsels other women

The Price of Cotton, filmed in Mali and Texas, follows activist farmer Ibrahim Coulibali’s efforts to gain Access to Markets by turning many small voices into a loud, international demand for fair trade.  As he educates small cotton farmers like Sedu Dembele in Mali about global organizations such as the WTO, which he believes are driving them under, second generation cotton farmers in Texas worry about the gathering international storm around their subsidies, which represent their means of survival.

Made in China, filmed in China and Minnesota, shows how Access to Jobs is pulling millions out of poverty in China, while causing profound changes to life in Middle America. Li Jieli has left her family in the Chinese countryside for a job in a modern electronics factory, representing millions of young women who must send money home to help build a future for their families.  In the depressed Minnesota Iron Range, former iron mill workers like Wayne Patterson try to find opportunities in other fields of work, while friends return to work in a mine reopened because of demand for iron from China.

The Tunnel and Other Lies, filmed in Bosnia, demonstrates that Access to Good Governance is essential if people are to escape the poverty trap. Bjelonja and Radzo Seferovic fight different battles, each facing tremendous odds against a government that has respectively taken their homes and jobs.

Produced In Partnership With EMF Films and GlobalEyes Productions