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How We Are Failing the World's Poor

What does it take to change the world?

In 2000 every United Nations member state agreed on eight Millennium Development Goals. By 2015 extreme poverty and hunger were to be eradicated, primary education was to be offered to all, gender equality promoted and the battle intensified against HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

In 2005 Nick Danziger was commissioned by the charity World Vision to visit eight countries – one for each of the UN goals – and see what effect they were having on real people’s lives.

Nick soon realized that one journey wasn’t going to be enough. So he returned five years later – and then again in 2015 with author Rory MacLean – to assemble an extraordinary, stark portrait of lives lived on the edge. Had the Millennium Development Goals succeeded in giving the families a better life? Did their sons no longer go to bed hungry? Are their daughters now able to go to school? Or would such grand intentions end up as nothing more than empty promises?

This book will be a collection of remarkable true stories that will leave no one unmoved. Some of the women and children Nick and Rory followed have died through sickness and poverty. One has become the most successful entrepreneur her African border town has ever known. Another – who once dreamed of becoming a banker – is now a gang member in the world’s murder capital. Yet another has confronted conformists and successfully changed his gender.

Nick and Rory plan to make a large format 320 page book containing over 180 black and white photographs and 20,000 words of text telling and illustrating the stories of forty lives in India, Cambodia, Zambia, Uganda, Niger, Honduras, Bolivia and Armenia.

The book will stand as a permanent record of their courage and humanity, but also as a reminder that much work still needs to be done if these goals are to be met.

Please help make it happen.

Book Specifications

Size: Large Format, 354x245mm

Paper: 150gsm coated art paper

Extent: 320 pages

Binding: Hardback, cloth-bound with 4 colour dust jacket

Printing: Tritone

Nick Danziger
Nick Danziger is one of Europe’s finest photojournalists having spent a life documenting what he sees in best-selling books, and in award-winning documentaries and photography. His most recent books have included: Mana, a unique behind-the-scenes look at New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team and Onze Femmes, tracing the lives of 11 women from countries in conflict over the last 10 years. His photographic work is held in museum collections worldwide. His 'mirror' image of Tony Blair and George W. Bush shot during a 30-day, ground-breaking study of a Prime Minister at war won the World Press Photo Award.

Rory MacLean
Rory MacLean’s ten non-fiction books include the UK best-sellers Stalin’s Nose and Under the Dragon as well as Berlin: Imagine a City, a Washington Post Book of the Year (2014). His works – according to the late John Fowles – are among those that 'marvellously explain why literature still lives'. On his research journeys, he walked through the newly-opened Berlin Wall, met Aung San Suu Kyi when under house arrest in Rangoon and interviewed Pashtun elders at the Kacha Garhi refugee camp after the destruction of the World Trade Center. He has won awards from the Canada Council and the Arts Council of England as well as a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary prize.

Irene, 16, Zambia 2005

Irene first sold herself at the age of 12. 'I went into sex work so I could remain in school,' she said. 'When my father left us and my mother couldn't afford my books, uniform or fees, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I first slept with a man to buy exercise books. Then I worked the truck stops to sell sex to truckers.' Irene considered herself lucky as she hadn't contracted AIDS or fallen pregnant, even though none of her clients agreed to wear a condom.

Irene, 21, Zambia 2010

Five years on Irene had lost her first born to malnutrition and given birth to a second child. She had also become HIV+. When Nick Danziger refound her, she told him, 'I didn't think I would ever see you again. In another five years time I will be dead.' Her ARV treatment was free but she hadn't enough money to buy the food necessary for the drug to be effective. 'I just wanted to support my family. I nearly realised my goal of returning to school because my first daughter got sick and all the money I'd saved went to pay for the medical expenses and her funeral.'

Irene, 26, Zambia 2015

'I pray and cry to God to let me earn enough money to keep my girls at school,' said Irene. By 2015 she had two daughters Grace, 8 and Sara, aged 3. 'I'll go without food to pay for their education. I'll even sell our land. But I will never, never go back on the street.' All she owned in the world was a small plot of land on which she had built three mud huts to rent out. But they went unoccupied and then filled up with penniless relations who Irene also began to support.

Pov, 14, Cambodia 2010

Until 2006, Pov had earned his living shining shoes on Phnom Penh's riverfront alongside his sister. Soon after their family – along with hundreds of other slum dwellers -- were evicted from Som Bok Chab, Pov fell into a fight. He picked up a bamboo pole to protect his cousin and was arrested. To free him from prison his mother Rihorn had to pay a bribe of $100, which she borrowed from a moneylender at 30% interest, per month. It would take them five years to pay off the loan.


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