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Soap Operas With a Social Message

By Sarika Bansal

Every Sunday evening, seven million Kenyans sit in front of their television sets to watch “Makutano Junction,” a soap opera set in a fictional village. In one episode, audiences watch as a woman, Mama Mboga, holds her crying infant. “I need some money to take Joni to hospital,” she tells her husband, Erasmus, after he wakes up and takes a swig from a bottle. “I think he has malaria.” Erasmus insists that his son is healthy, that she is overreacting and that he has no money to give her.
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A Boost for the World’s Poorest Schools

By Tina Rosenberg

Since the turn of the millennium, the world has made stunning progress toward the goal of universal primary education. In sub-Saharan Africa, enrollment in primary school has risen by 18 percentage points; in Asia and Latin America there has been more limited progress. While globally, 69 million school-age children do not attend school now, in 1999 that figure was 106 million. This is a huge achievement.
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In the Fight Against Poverty, It’s Time for a Revolution

By David Bornstein

Is it time to rethink our basic assumptions about the way we fight poverty?

When Michael Harrington’s landmark book on poverty, “The Other America,” was published in 1962, Harrington startled the nation’s leaders, including President John F. Kennedy, by shining a spotlight on the deep poverty that remained hidden in America. Harrington’s book became an underpinning for the War on Poverty. Half a century later, the United States Census bureau has produced what may become another landmark reference. Based on an updated method for assessing poverty, the bureau has found that far more Americans are scraping by than was previously known: 100 million Americans — one in three — are “deep poor,” “poor,” or “near poor.”
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Helping Where Help Is Wanted

By Tina Rosenberg

On Friday I wrote about ReServe, a program that connects retired professionals to part-time jobs in nonprofit organizations or city agencies.  Many ReServists, who earn $10 an hour, are working in city schools, including as college counselors in high schools in low-income neighborhoods.
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In a Second Career, Working to Make a Difference

By Tina Rosenberg

At the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change, a public school on West 135th Street in Harlem, every one of the 82 members of the senior class is expected to apply to college. At a suburban or private school, or at a wealthier city school, these seniors would have all the help they need. They would have been raised in families where going to college is a given. They would have advisers who know about a wide range of colleges and have contacts in admissions offices. They would take test-prep courses and rewrite their personal essays numerous times with the help of a savvy editor. They would have a list of deadlines to meet and be constantly pushed to meet them by parents and school advisers.
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