A Dollar A Day

A Dollar A Day

Less than a dollar a day is a phrase we are all familiar with, but what does it really mean?

Almost half the world's population lives on less than a dollar a day, but the statistic fails to capture the humiliation, powerlessness and brutal hardship that is the daily lot of the world's poor.

In this series, Mike Wooldridge looks at what it's really like to have to live on a dollar a day and how it can mean different things in different countries, and asks whether the global target of halving world poverty by 2015 can really be achieved.

It isn't all about desperation and gloom, though: Mike meets people of incredible energy and determination, living in vibrant communities and having a diversity of experiences.

Veeran is a spirited 75 year old living alone in the back streets of the town of Rohtak, north west of Delhi.

In her small, spartan home -the kitchen does not even have a roof- she symbolises one of India's newest challenges.

More and more people are surviving into their seventies and beyond, thanks to overall improvements in health care. But there is a growing problem of destitution among the elderly too.

The tradition in India, as in many Asian societies, of younger family members caring for the elderly can no longer be relied on.

This is largely because of the impact of rapid urbanisation and increasing employment opportunities for women, the primary carers of older relatives.

Mike Wooldridge hears at first-hand how elderly people cope and how they see the changes taking place around them.

Those who neglect their relatives could end up before tribunals - but is this what the elderly themselves want?

The policy issues involved are crucial. It is predicted that by the middle of the century Asia will be home to almost two-thirds of the world's older people.

  • A Dollar A Day

    • Part One
      Poverty was a key issue in the recent elections in Kenya and the unrest that followed.
    • Part Two
      In Peru, women get one dollar a day for vaccinating and sending their children to school.
    • Part Three
      In India, more people are surviving into their old age, and many live in deep poverty.
    • Part Four
      In Ghana, families struggle to find the money to fund their children's education.
    • Part Five
      In China, rural families are struggling to gain any benefit for sacrificing land for city jobs.