In Congo Dreaming Of The NBA

Orlando Magic’s Bismack Biyombo Is Growing Basketball In His Home Country

Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo

The crowd was amped and the music — a Notorious B.I.G. remix — pumped through the speakers. On the half court, six teenaged basketball players stopped to catch their breath before a referee blew the whistle and the ball was in play once again. Young people surrounded the court’s perimeter, all eyes on the action. A sponsor passed out neon yellow energy drinks.

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How Planned Parenthood Is Empowering Young People in Lesotho

The health organization has become a safe space and educational hub in a nation with the second-highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world.

A crew of twentysomethings spend the afternoon on a bench outside the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association. Two young women braid the hair of a third friend, and two guys sit alongside them, potentially flirting.

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Inside the Fight to Unionize Lebanon’s Domestic Workers

They come from all over seeking work. What they find instead is rampant injustice and abuse.

In a room full of brightly colored saris, Birtukan, in her crisp white dress, traditional Ethiopian Sunday attire, looks slightly out of place, though if she feels it, she doesn’t let it show. This is her life now, as a leader in the movement to unionize women who work in wealthy Lebanese homes as maids, otherwise known as domestic workers. Many of the women around Birtukan at this Nepalese New Year celebration are domestic workers in Beirut. All are far away from home, whether home is Ethiopia, the Philippines, or some other far-flung corner. It's an experience that connects this diverse group of women who otherwise might find little reason to gather in the same room.

Birtukan has brought two other Ethiopian women to the party, and they sit politely, listening as a man onstage speaks rapidly into a microphone in Nepali. Then Gemma Justo, general secretary of the domestic workers union, stands up to speak. Gemma, Birtukan, and a few others have come to this Nepalese party to promote their new domestic workers union. The group, founded last December, is not currently recognized by the Lebanese government—in fact, organizing by domestic workers is officially banned by law here. These women believe changing that legal hurdle and gaining government recognition is an important step in advocating for foreign domestic workers, a vulnerable population often abused with impunity throughout the Middle East.

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