May 2010


A documentary on BBC Radio 4 today looks at the impact of the global economic crisis on migrant workers and the people who depend on them. “Cutting the Lifeline” was reported by Homelands’ Jonathan Miller in Honduras and the USA and produced and narrated by Vera Frankl in London. The audio will be available for streaming until May 12. We hope you’ll have a chance to listen.

The half-hour show takes listeners from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, where thousands of Central American workers have lost their jobs, to a former fishing village in northern Honduras that depends on money sent by family members in America, to a farming community in western Honduras, where a mother of five eagerly awaits her husband’s return after a 10-year absence.

Remittances from migrant workers are now the largest single source of income for Honduras, but few services exist to support the migrants or their families. Migration carries terrible risks, from the perilous journey north (90 percent of Honduran migrants are undocumented) to the strain that long-term separation puts on family relationships. Still, with few opportunities at home, one in seven Hondurans has chosen to leave. The economic downturn has made many rethink that calculation.

P.S. We just learned that “Cutting the Lifeline” has been chosen as a “Pick of the Week” by the BBC. An excerpt will air on Sunday, May 9 at 6:15 pm in the UK.

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If you believe in the power of multimedia documentary, you’ll want to check out Fonografia Collective. It’s a partnership between a photographer, Bear Guerra, and a print and audio journalist, Ruxandra Guidi, and they do extraordinary work from Haiti, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, the USA and elsewhere. Homelands Productions is proud to serve as their non-profit fiscal sponsor.

After five years, Ruxandra and Bear have just launched their first-ever fundraising drive. You can buy exhibition-quality prints of Bear’s black-and-white photos from Haiti or make a tax-deductible donation through Homelands. Your contributions support thoughtful, empathetic reporting about human rights, health, the environment and social justice. Tell them we sent you!