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World in Progress: Identities and Survival

Anke Rasper
July 28, 2021

Who defines who's Japanese? Identity and the Hafu people in Japan / Hardly seen: The plight of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria Making it against all odds: How a school in Croatia puts Roma kids on course for better lives / And: We'll survive: Why Bedouins in Egypt are confident their ancient traditions will survive despite Covid and Climate Change


Hafu in Japan

It was very moving when Japanese tennis star, Naomi Osaka, lit the Olympic flame in Tokyo a few days ago. And even more so for those in Japan who are of mixed ethic origin. Osaka's parents are Haitian and Japanese. And like this years's flag bearer, Basketball star Rui Hachimura, whose parents are from Japan and Benin, there a more than 30 athletes of multiracial backgrounds in the 582-strong Japanese Olympic squad. No matter how well they do at the Olympics, these athletes are changing ideas about what it means to be Japanese. For many years, the country has developed an image of being a mono-ethnic nation - but it’s left out a growing part of the population: Japan's HAFU. This is a hybrid Japanese English word meaning 'half' -  and identifyies people of mixed race. Many of them say they are still often treated like foreigners in their own land. Christopher Dodd caught up with some of them.

Roma Education  

Overcoming sterotypes and redefining identities, that's also a topic in our next report, though in a very different part of the world. Most schools have now broken up for the summer. But for many children from the Roma ethnic group, it never started in the first place. That’s particularly true in the Balkans. A recent report commissioned by UNESCO found that six out of ten Roma children in the region don’t attend upper secondary school – with attendance rates falling as low as 3% in Montenegro. That contributes to a cycle of poverty. But there is hope – as students at one primary school in Croatia can confirm. Our reporter Guy De Launey visited it to find out more.

Cameroon Refugees in Nigeria       

With millions of refugees and internally displaced people across Africa, the plight of refugees from Cameroon in Nigeria is often overlooked. Most have been displaced due to the conflict in their homeland between the government and separatists from the English-speaking minority. It started more than five years ago and has affected most of the four million people in the Anglophone regions. According to the International Crisis Group, at least 4000 people have been killed in the conflict, close to 800,000 forced to flee their homes and more than 60,000 have fled to Nigeria. Ngala Killian Chimtom has been talking to some of them.

Bedouins Egypt    

And for our last report, we head to Egypt. The Coronavirus has slowed down tourism there almost to a standstill. But the Egyptian government is now promoting the sector and highlighting the fact that those working in tourism at the Red Sea have all been vaccinated. Bedouins living between the Red Sea and the river Nile in the interior of the country are suffering from the continuing crisis just as much as the rest of the tourism sector.  But they’re convinced they’ll manage to attract more tourists for hiking and cultural tours, as Björn Blaschke found out. His report is presented by Evelyn McClafferty.

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