In this film, Life highlights the plight of two young mothers living in two very different societies. Dawn lives in South Wales, in one of the poorest districts in the European Union, where over a quarter of all children live in poverty. She has a partner and three children. Her youngest child is David who is one year old. Asemu lives in northern Ethiopia where most of the people are farmers who cannot produce enough food to live on. She has a partner and two children; the youngest Mikiray is eight months old. Both Dawn and Asemu are 22 years old.
David and Mikiray are both at a crucial stage in their development where a healthy diet is fundamental to preventing lifelong problems linked to malnutrition. Both women are aware that their children's diets are poor and that their health is suffering because of this. Asemu's eldest child Bayou is small and seriously underweight with chronic health issues. Dawn's youngest child David is not too small or underweight, but she recognises that she feeds him fatty foods because they are cheaper.
The international community has made a commitment to halve hunger by 2015. Asemu and Debru will tell you it's failing.
The other titles in the series are:
1. Edge Of Islam - Three Muslim students face a choice between their faith and their future.
2. Castro Or Quit - Two young doctors in Venezuela have to decide whether to leave the country or stay with their patients.
3. No Country For Young Girls? - A young Indian woman has to choose - stay with a husband who doesn't want female children, or make it on her own.
4. The Unforgiven - Should General Butt Naked (née Joshua Blahyi) - now a Christian pastor - be forgiven for his role in Liberia's horrific civil war?
5. Looking For My Gypsy Roots - Hungarian film director Arpad faces a dilemma - should he track down his Roma father?
6. The Dilemma Of The White Ant - Dominic Ongwen is both a victim and alleged perpetrator of LRA war crimes. Should he face an international court?
7. Three Sisters - Eritrea's women fought in the war; should they now liberate themselves from harmful traditional practices?
8. The Pied Piper Of Eyasi - The Hadza are among Africa's last hunter gatherers - should they follow charismatic Baallow into the modern world?
9. The Prince - A young Pakistani landowner chooses between trying to implement the MDGs in the village that his family owns, and a quiet life.
11. Collision Course - Reviews the positive steps being taken in India and Brazil to confront the serious public health issue presented by traffic accidents.
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2008
Copyright Date: 2008
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-822-8
VHS ISBN: 1-59458-821-X
"Running on Empty provides a compelling, first-person account of families' struggles with poverty. It can serve [as] a supplemental resource to any course that addresses poverty or international aid. Rich discussions can be generated around the contrasts of living in a developed and a developing economy, of relative versus absolute deprivation, and of the opportunities for advancement that may or may not exist. Other important issues regarding the state's interest/obligation in preserving the quality of family life and the well-being of children and the impact of cultural standards on consumption, parenting, and so on can be raised for discussion...Students and instructors can learn much from this documentary."
Karen A. Callagham, Barry University, Teaching Sociology