Porto Alegre, capital of Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, was once a run-of-the-mill, dirty, Brazilian port city. But an amazing transformation has taken place: unemployment has fallen, public transportation is now excellent, and poor neighborhoods have improved dramatically.
These changes are thanks to a process of direct democracy known as the 'Participatory Budget' scheme that's giving all Porte Alegre's citizens a say in how their city is run. The scheme devotes the bulk of the city's financial resources to renewing the infrastructure of the town's slum areas and improving living standards for its neediest residents. As a result, exceptional neighborhood leaders have sprung up. This program from the City Life series traces the experiences of two such women, both born in poor slum areas, who have risen to make a difference in the community.
The producer of this program has collected extensive resources at www.tve.org/lifeonline/index.cfm?aid=1110.
The other titles in the series are:
1. City Life - Explores Sao Paolo in introduction to series examining the effects of globalization on people and cities.
2. The Long March - Community in Chengdu, China has organized to clean-up polluted river.
3. The Health Protestors - Health care advocates demand universal health care for the world's population at international convention in Dhaka.
4. Together Against Violence - Poor Jamaican community overcomes violence.
5. Paradise Domain - Pacific islanders are not benefiting from digital windfall or World Wide Web.
6. Pavements of Gold - Increase in urban poverty and population, caused by globalization, threatens Peruvians.
8. My Mother Built This House - Large homeless contingent in South Africa has organized to build houses for each other.
9. Barcelona Blueprint - Barcelona today is a model of urban planning that may prove sustainable.
10. Gaza Under Siege - The Gaza Strip has been a virtual prison for Palestinians for over fifty years.
11. Waiting to Go - Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are denied human rights.
12. A Fistful of Rice - Protein deficiency threatens generations of children in Nepal.
13. Patently Obvious - International patent regulations only protect multinationals.
14. The Other Side - Poor Mexicans attempt perilous border crossing to US, often at the expense of family, traditional culture, and their lives.
15. The Miller's Tale: Bread Is Life - Efforts are underway in Egypt and Yemen to fortify flour with iron to wipe out needless malnutrition.
16. Brazil: Winning Against AIDS - Brazil has developed generic antiretroviral drugs to care for those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.
17. Missing Out - Anemia threatens the population of Niger and Tanzania.
18. Stop the Traffick - Investigates horror of child sex industry in Cambodia.
19. My Hanoi - Tour of rapidly urbanizing Hanoi, and the effect on citizens and culture.
20. Lines in the Dust - In revolutionary programs in Northern Ghana and India, gender roles are challenged, and illiterate adults educated.
21. Paying the Price - Pharmaceutical companies block generic drugs, threatening the lives of millions of Africans with AIDS.
22. Holy Smoke: Cambodians Fight Tobacco - Buddhist monks lead anti-tobacco campaign in Cambodia.
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2002
Copyright Date: 2001
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-140-1
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-933-9