World Water Day - 22nd March 2018
Some 3.5 million people die each year because of inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene, according to Unesco. Over-extraction from fresh water sources, inefficient use in agriculture, poor infrastructure and rising levels of pollution have greatly reduced the availability of clean water.
Industries dump an estimated 300 million to 400 million tonnes of polluted waste in water bodies every year, according to the UN. About 750 million people still do not have access to clean water supplies and that number is set to rise.
This villager I photographed many years ago now in Cambodia was routinely washing her rice in the local river. The water looked clean; she appeared healthy. Is it still the same today I wonder...
International Women's Day - 8th March 2018
The smile of this market stall holder in Madagascar reflected mine as she caught my eye with her proud adornment of hats.
International Women's Day is a designed to highlight the need for greater gender equality.
Madagascar is an example of a poor country with a legacy of historic neglect for women's rights now trying to address the situation through local, national and international initiatives.
Let's hope they can set a two-hats-good example for others!
International Mother Language Day - 21 February 2018
More than half of the languages spoken by India's 1.3 billion people may die out over the next 50 years, according to experts who are trying to preserve the dialects spoken by the nation's endangered tribal communities.
Each time a language is lost, the corresponding culture is dies with it. India has already lost 250 mother tongues in last five decades. Most at risk are marginal tribal communities whose children receive no education or, if they do go to school, are only taught in one of India's 22 officially recognised languages.
The Gadia Lohar people of Rajasthan are a unique tribe that have lived a nomadic lifestyle on the fringes of society in the Thar desert since the fifteenth century. Sometimes referred to as Mewari people, after their mother tongue language, they are very proud of their culture and traditions.
The Gadia Lohars have got caught between the conservation of their traditions and modern ways of life. Their language and identity are at risk; another of the world’s rich, unique cultural diversity is diminishing.
We were fortunate to visit one of their communities whilst based at Jaisalmer during our travels through Rajasthan. The snapshot in time, taken many years ago, is both enduringly beautiful and sad.
We can't help wondering what has become of these people today.