“In Bangladesh, the camera crew slept on mats in huts, side-by-side with villagers who are using micro-lending to pull themselves out of abject poverty. In the county jail in Benton Harbor, Michigan, they were behind bars with the inmates — mothers whose lives, and the lives of their children, have been blighted by drugs. In Tanzania, they laughed with lepers whose illness is being stemmed through the good will of Novartis Foundation, which brings healthcare services and medicines to the poor of the Third World. And to film victims of wage theft — in just one week in Chicago, workers lose $7 million in unpaid wages — they spent 18 months getting to know cheated workers.”
“Every episode ends with a Vincentian challenge: What can you do about this issue? How can you actually change the world?””
When Patricia Werhane (professor and Executive Director of the Institute for Business and Professional Ethics DePaul University) and Kim Clark (instructor, College of Communication) decided to film grass root efforts to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh, the idea of a public television series called Big Questions was nowhere in sight.
“This project started with our frustration about writing case papers,” says Clark. “Could the camera tell a story in a different, perhaps better, way? Our first foray — to Bangladesh — was so successful that we starting looking for other situations to document, other windows to look through. In doing that, we found multiple fault lines or tipping points where people are effectively challenging poverty and promoting social justice through small actions.”
Micro-lending in Bangladesh:
A leper colony in Tanzania:
A women’s jail in Michigan:
Wage theft in Chicago: