Poverty & Working Conditions

  • Migrant Workers | Wide Angle

    There are strict laws in China, dating back to the Maoist era of the 1950s, that prevent Chinese citizens from the countryside from working in urban areas. Harsh conditions in China’s rural countryside, however, have left many undeterred and seeking employment in the city. These migrant workers have been denied social services and are subject to poor working conditions because of their illegal status. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "The People's Court," visit with migrant construction workers in Beijing.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Tomatoes of Wrath: Lucas Benitez

    Lucas Benitez worked picking tomatoes in Southern Florida for wages that were barely enough to live on. Conditions were deplorable and workers faced a climate of intimidation, fear and violence right here in the United States. Lucas Benitez rose up to create an alliance of workers and consumers that forced fast food giants McDonalds and Taco Bell to change their ways. He was able to transform the lives of some of the worst paid people in America, and bring dignity to their working lives.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Migrant Workers and Social Justice | Wide Angle

    History’s largest ongoing migration is occurring in China. One out every ten Chinese is leaving the rural countryside for one of China’s major cities. Despite their hard work, many of these peasants are finding their dreams for a better life in the city shattered by laws that deny them the same rights as urban citizens. In this video from the Wide Angle film "The People's Court," meet some of the peasants who have been largely ignored by the nation that they are helping to rebuild.

    Grades: 9-12
  • One NYC Family's Struggle to Survive on a Fast Food Salary

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on November 6th, 2013.

    Between food, housing and baby supplies, Shenita Simon struggles each week to support her family of seven. The 25-year-old from New York makes $8 per hour and is one of the fast food workers nationwide advocating for higher wages.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Rethinking Fast Fashion After Bangladesh

    This essay from Youth Radio is a self-reflection of one teenager’s buying and shopping habits. She shares her experiences touring Bangladesh and hearing stories about the local factory conditions. She returns to the United States determined to not buy clothes made in sweatshops as well as raise awareness about fast fashion.

    Use this essay to start a discussion about consumerism in America or challenge students to research where their clothing came from, and what living / working conditions are like in that country.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Made in L.A.: Examine Labor Practices in the Garment Industry

    This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the film Made in L.A., a film that follows the struggle of three Latina immigrants working for fair labor conditions in Los Angeles's garment factories. Note: This film has bilingual subtitles throughout and is fully accessible to English and Spanish speakers. This lesson compares current conditions in the garment industry with those at the turn of the 20th century.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Extreme Global Makeover | Wide Angle: Lesson Plan

    Modernization is an important issue in many places, including China and India. Modernization may impact such areas as society, politics, the economy, and the environment. This lesson is based on two PBS Wide Angle documentaries—"To Have and Have Not" (2002) and "1-800-INDIA" (2005)

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Inexpensive Inventions and the World's Poor | EarthSky

    Environmental scientist Ashok Gadgil is perhaps best known for his inventions which include an ultraviolet water purifier that can provide clean, cheap water for a thousand people per day and an inexpensive, ultra-efficient cooking stove for families in Darfur.

    This resource is audio only.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Jacqueline Novogratz Invests in Sustainable Small Business Solutions for World's Poor - Full

    Listen as Jacqueline Novogratz discusses investing in sustainable small business solutions for the world's poor. The goal, says Novogratz, CEO of Acumen Fund, is to find a way to bring essential services to low income people not just today but in a way that's sustainable over time.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Bernard Amadei: Engineering with Heart for World's Poor

    This Utah Education Network podcast features engineer and founder of Engineers Without Borders, Dr. Bernard Amadei. He discusses the organization's work with impoverished populations, such as the creation of rainwater collection systems, and the installation of solar cells to provide power in health clinics.

    Grades: 7-13+
  • Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, Brings Microcredit to Poor in Latin America

    Listen as Muhammad Yunus discusses bringing microcredit to poor people in Latin America. Microcredit -- loans to the poor made without collateral -- is catching on in Latin America with the help of the Whole Planet Foundation, according to Yunus.

    Grades: 7-12