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Apraham's Cafe: How Coffee Can Define...
Beirut
By Ahmad Mogharbel
12 Nov 2014

68-year-old Apraham is a Lebanese Armenian who lives in Naba'a a section of Beirut's famous Armenian Ghetto known as Bourj Hammoud.
Apraham has diabetes and has no other choice but to work at his little coffee "shop" under the Bourj Hammoud bridge in order to pay for his medications. He starts work every morning at 5am in order to catch the morning worker crowd and spends the whole day serving his customers.

Coffee making on the streets of Lebanon is a famous profession, not only because it is tradition, but also for the simple fact that it is a relatively easy and accessible source of income.

Apraham's friends are loyal customers, they come and hang everyday to check on him and watch the busy streets of Bourj Hammoud. Apraham has survived all of these years thanks to the people who still enjoy gathering around his freshly pulled cups of coffee.

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Elderly Care in Thailand: Luxury at a...
Phuket
By Biel Calderon
31 May 2014

Elderly care has been one of the sectors affected by the global economic crisis in Europe. Many retired people cannot afford to pay for the services they require. Countries like Thailand have seen this dilemma as an opportunity to offer these services at a lower price. In Phuket, one of the main tourist towns in Thailand, a Swiss woman has opened a caring house, the Baan Tschuai Duu Laa (House of Help and Care), which hosts elderly from Switzerland, Germany and the United States. The residents of the care home now enjoy better care at a much lower price than their home countries.

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FDLR Surrenders Its Weapons
Beleusa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
By Gaïus Kowene
29 May 2014

The Rwandan Hutu rebel group that has been battling the government in Kigali for the past twenty years has taken what it says is the first step in disarming its fighters and starting a political fight instead.
At a ceremony on Friday May 30 at Buleusa in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo more than 100 fighters of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR, surrendered and handed in their weapons.
But the FDLR warned that continuing the process of peace depends upon the government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame agreeing to talks.
The leader of the rebel group General Victor Byiringiro said “We call up on the International community to help us get an open dialogue with the Rwandan Government”.
The Hutu led FDLR is made up of former Rwandan Army soldiers and Hutu militia who fled the country after the 1994 genocide and found refuge in Congo.
Lieutenant Colonel, Omari Ujani, representative of the SADC, Southern African Development Community promised surrendering combatants and their dependents security. He announced the creation of a joint commission to make sure their demobilization process is effective. Omari also assured them of SADC diplomatic support for their political reintegration in Rwanda. “As you freely decided to lay down your guns, we don’t want you to go back in jungle disturbing locals’ peace”, he said.
The surrendering combatants will wait in a transit camp in Kanyabayonga, a village near Congo's Virunga National Park, before being relocated in Equateur province.

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Rumah Singgah: A Home for Jakarta's A...
Depok, Greater Jakarta, Indonesia
By Elisabetta Zavoli
01 Mar 2014

Photo essay and video Video length - 7:01 "Rumah Singgah" literally means “shelter house." A project developed by Mami Yulie (aka Yulianus Rettoblaut), the 53 year-old leader of the Indonesian waria (transgender) community, the shelter hosts elderly transgender with no means of living on their own for free. 'Waria' is literally a combination of the words wanita meaning woman and pria, man. At Rumah Singgah, they create a sort of microcosm, a small community ruled by tight family-like bonds. Rumah Singgah is also Mami Yulie's home, where she lives with her own family: her foster children, her husband and sometimes her relatives.

Almost all waria in Indonesia are chased away from their families of origin when relatives find out they are transgender people. When they are young they can survive thanks to prostitution, but when they become old and sick, many are left without others to help care for them. Rummah Singgah is a space where elderly waria care for each other and are looked after by Mami Yulie and the shelter's caretaker.

“When I was at school, I used to play with the girls. I used to draw flowers, houses, weird stuff…. When I grew up and become an adult, my parents understood that I was a transgender so I was chased from home," said Mumun, the 68-year-old caretaker of Rumah Singgah. "I was ordered to go away. They didn’t want their son to be a transgender. My parents disowned me asking me to leave the house. I was beaten up with wood and bamboo sticks and fell down in the rice field. I was beaten up there, so I ran away. I left. I took a train to Bogor. When I arrived I didn’t have relatives to go to nor did I know anybody”, she said.

This is a common situation among many “waria” in Indonesia. Most of their stories starts like that of Mumun: they experienced exclusion and abandonment by their families when they came out as transgender. Their new life, the choice of becoming who they feel themselves to be, always starts on the street. Waria people consider themselves women trapped in men’s bodies. They say that their soul and heart are that of a woman, so a waria is a man with a woman’s soul. Becoming transgender is not a choice for them. It comes from the heart. Many people in Indonesia think if someone hangs out with a group of transgender, he/she can become a transgender. This only furthers the stigmatization of the waria, many of whom already live under precarious circumstances.

“The problem in the waria community is that people forget there are many old transgender," said Mami Yulie. "This is a problem because when they get sick or die, they don’t have a proper place for burial. The community rejects them. They are taken to the police, who take them to hospital and bury them in a mass grave. This happens again and again, and it prompts me to think that I have the responsibility to help them."

When transgender become old, making a living becomes very hard for them. “I am sixty eight year old now. I am too old to make a living in the evening. I am not sellable anymore,” Mumun said.

In Rumah Singgah, a lot of elderly waria have been helped to become independent, to improve their skills and to be able to create a home industry. However, the shelter’s capacity is limited. Only about ten to fifteen people can be accommodated according to a rotation system. If there are five or ten people coming in, five or ten people must leave. The great challenge of this project is to find enough financial support to pay for food, medicine, electricity and water for them all: and the transgender community in Jakarta has eight hundred and thirty one elderly waria who need to be taken care of. Residents also pray and practice their own religion at the shelter house. This vital time helps them prepare for the day when they will die. They can share their thoughts: at the shelter house, their main job is to provide peer support to each other. This process helps to create new strong family-like bonds between them, and the tiny community becomes a new big family for people who often have no one left in their life.

Mami Yulie, originally born in Merauke, Papua, moved to Jakarta when she was chased from her family home. She began her life in Jakarta working on the street as a prostitute, where she met her partner fifteen years ago. Since then they have been inseparable. Mami Yulie was the first Indonesian transgender to graduate at University. Leaving the street life behind, her biological family welcomes her again. They come to visit her and stay in Rumah Singgah from time to time.

“At this age, I have been given a long life," Mami Yulie said. "I was able to study, to appear on TV, to go in and out of government offices. This wouldn’t be possible without the will of God. He is the only one to help, me because I believe there is nothing impossible in God’s name."

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Rumah Singgah: A Home for Jakarta's A...
Depok
By Elisabetta Zavoli
28 Feb 2014

Length: 7:01
English subtitles

"Rumah Singgah" literally means “shelter house." A project developed by Mami Yulie (Yulianus Rettoblaut), the leader of waria community (transgender M to F) in Indonesia, the shelter hosts elderly transgender with no means of living on their own for free. There, they create a sort of microcosm, a small community ruled by tight family-like bonds. Rumah Singgah is also Mami Yulie's home, where she lives with her own family: her foster children, her husband and sometimes her relatives. Almost all waria (transgender M to F) in Indonesia are chased away from their families of origin when relatives find out they are transgender people. When they are young they can survive thanks to prostitution, but when they become old and sick, many are left without others to help care for them. Rummah Singgah is a space where elderly waria care for each other and are looked after by Mami Yulie and the shelter's caretaker.

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"Los Habaneros," the People of Havana
Havana,Cuba
By Transterra Editor
13 Sep 2013

The People of Havana

In September 2013, I photographed almost 100 people inside their homes in Havana. The inside of a person’s home says as much about their personality as their portrait does, and most of the homes I visited were filled with personal, social, cultural, economic and religious clues about their Cuban occupants. These interiors testified to the many hardships the people of Havana endure and the Cuban people’s resilience and resourcefulness.

Despite the years of international isolation, economic sanctions and general hardship, the people of Havana are warm, welcoming and positive. They are determined to enjoy life. There’s a strong sense of community in every neighborhood. Vulnerable people are supported by their community and no one is isolated.

Cubans make do with what they have. When something breaks, it’s fixed with whatever material that can be found. Nothing is wasted. Frequently it seems that nothing is thrown away. Despite the poor state of the buildings and the cramped conditions, most of the homes I visited were also filled with vibrant colours, mementos, belongings, beloved pets and human warmth and spirit.

The poor housing situation in Havana contrasts sharply with the many positive changes to society that the Communist Party has bought about. The housing in Havana lags far behind all the other indicators of development. Although the government still struggles to provide citizens with safe and comfortable housing, Cuba has a high life expectancy (79 years is the average), a 99.8 percent literacy rate, free education at every level and free health care for all its citizens.

These discrepancies between the housing conditions and the level of education and health care create a situation that is unique to Cuba. This is a country where a highly specialized doctor, for example, has no other option but to live in a cramped and humid room, in a dangerously unstable building.

There are however inconsistencies between the living standards of certain people. Not everyone is in the same situation and some people are able to live in better homes. This is often due to government connections. Residents who have family members working abroad and who send money to them and residents who are paid directly by tourists also have the means to improve their housing situation.

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Housing in Havana 17
Havana, Cuba
By Alison McCauley
03 Sep 2013

An elderly resident looks down at the stairs leading to her apartment. The original stairs collapsed completely and were replaced by this rickety, homemade staircase. Ten years ago this woman fell down these stairs and broke her shoulder, hip and all her front teeth.

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Los Habaneros 21
Havana, Cuba
By Alison McCauley
31 Aug 2013

This woman lives with her paralysed, elderly mother. The daughter is unable to have a paid job because she has to care, full time, for her mother. They rely on hand-outs from neighbors.

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Aging with Regrets
Nairobi, Kenya
By Sam Charo
08 Aug 2013

An old woman worries about her aging without insurance and benefits. For a long time the Kenyan government had an elitist retirement scheme. One woman tells her journey on finding her daily bread and shares her fears for not having a sound insurance mechanism to shield her on her sunset years.

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Pakistan's General Elections 2013 ( 1...
Lahore, Pakistan
By Murtaza Syed
10 May 2013

A Pakistani woman shows her ink-stained thumb after casting her ballot at a polling station in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013.

Defying the danger of militant attacks, Pakistanis streamed to the polls Saturday for a historic vote pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister and an unpopular incumbent

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Housing in Havana 24
Havana, Cuba
By Alison McCauley
31 Dec 2008

A man smoking a cigar is standing next to a building that has completely collapsed. The building next door is still standing and people continue to live and work there.