GLOBAL VOICES COLUMN ARCHIVE

Giving a voice to the world's most fascinating untold global and social issues.

Beyond World Water Day

Tyler and Alex Mifflin spent summers in the water. Childhood memories of canoe trips and pristine waves contrast heavily with something they heard from adults time and again: “Don’t swim in Lake Ontario. It’s too polluted.” That warning was the first drop in the bucket that’s become a shared life goal. Two decades later—after four...

March 11th, 2017 read more

Homeless in a bureaucratic system

Rachel faces a gut-wrenching decision: put her own life and her step-daughter’s safety at risk, or live on the streets. Rachel, 55, took her step-daughter, Jessica, 15, with her when she escaped her abusive husband and left her home in rural Ontario. Rachel and Jessica (whose names have been changed to protect their identity) went to a YWCA sh...

March 12th, 2016 read more

Stemming the tide of “stolen” Aboriginal children

Wisps of white smoke from smoldering sweet grass and sage curl above a small group sitting in a circle. The soothing scent seeps into the cedar planks of this traditional First Nations sweat lodge nestled inside the sweeping modern glass and brick curves of an urban building in downtown Ottawa. The Circle of Care program is where indigenous fami...

February 13th, 2016 read more

The science of the intergenerational poverty trap

The story begins with two babies. Alike in potential, a lifetime of possibilities lie ahead. It ends with two adults: a man sporting a tux and sipping champaign, and a woman in a waitress uniform, serving him oysters. In May, this brilliant online graphic comic strip (by New Zealand artist Toby Morris) went viral. Entitled On a Plate: A short st...

June 20th, 2015 read more

Idealism and realism can walk hand in hand

When the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society approached councillor Ted Clugston six years ago with a plan to end homelessness, he was cynical. The group wanted to just give homes to the homeless. “You’re going to end homelessness? Yeah ok, good one,” he recalls thinking. But the society argued that the $20,000 per year cost of housing ...

June 13th, 2015 read more

Veterinarians can heal poverty, not just pets

  As war raged in Sudan, thousands streamed across the border into neighbouring South Sudan. The refugees faced hunger, disease and the loss of everything they owned. Then help arrived in an unexpected form: veterinarians. An estimated one billion of the world’s most impoverished people live in rural communities. Of these, approximately ...

March 21st, 2015 read more

Look to women to lead economic growth in the face of poverty

One small cup of corn porridge for breakfast. One small cup of corn porridge for dinner. Day after day, the same inadequate meals fueled the hard labour of Daisy Barengetuny, her parents and seven brothers and sisters. The farming family had always lived on the knife edge of poverty, made worse by several years of drought in their native Kenya. ...

August 18th, 2014 read more

Fair taxation—Evoking the legend of Robin Hood

In her little shop in Accra, Ghana, Marta Luttgrodt works 12 hour days, seven days a week, to pay fees to put her two kids through school. Her neighbour, a brewery owned by multinational beer baron SABMiller, looms large; its shadow is a constant reminder that education might be more affordable in Ghana if international businesses paid their fair...

June 16th, 2014 read more

Sochi: What $50 billion could have accomplished

Photo source: Mikhail Mokrushin, Visualrian. The residents of 5a Akatsy Street in Sochi have an unparalleled view of Olympic athletes and visitors heading for the ice rinks via the nearby $635 million highway. We suspect the apartment dwellers would happily trade the new view for running water, or somewhere to go to the bathroom. Despite the bi...

February 10th, 2014 read more

Protecting Canada’s wealth: water

A Muskoka chair is silhouetted on a dock, surrounded by cool lake waters shimmering with the reflected setting sun. The image is quintessentially Canadian. Thousands of us undoubtedly spent this Canada Day weekend playing in or simply lounging by our abundant oceans, lakes and rivers, while thousands more enjoyed their own backyard swimming pool...

July 2nd, 2013 read more