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Society-and-culture

Extraordinary first person stories from around the world

Popular episodes

Why my parents sent my brothers to live in North Korea

Nov 30 • 23:50
Filmmaker Yonghi Yang grew up in Japan in the 1960s, as part of Osaka's large ethnic Korean community. Facing anti-Korean prejudice in Japan, and inspired by the North Korean regime’s promise of a socialist paradise, her parents made the momentous decision to send their three teenage sons to live in the North Korean capital Pyongyang in the early 1970s, as a sort of ‘birth...

The choir without vocal cords

Nov 29 • 39:55
Doctor Thomas Moors has understood the power of the voice since he was part of a boys' choir in Belgium. He took that knowledge with him into his career and now specialises in ears, nose and throat. And now he has done what some thought impossible - formed a choir for people in the UK who have had their voice boxes surgically removed, mostly because of throat cancer, throu...

The bionic gloves that brought music back to me

Nov 25 • 22:52
For many years, acclaimed Brazilian pianist Joao Carlos Martins graced the world's most famous concert halls, performing as a pianist and celebrated interpreter of Johann Sebastian Bach's music. He'd studied the piano since he was eight years old, and by the age of 21 had made his debut at the Carnegie Hall in New York sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt. His career was going w...

My anonymous teen story became a playground sensation

Nov 25 • 23:40
In 2005, when London schoolgirl Jade LB was just 13, she got a computer for her birthday and began writing a fictional story on it – the sometimes raunchy, sometimes disturbing adventures of a 17-year-old girl called Keisha. Written in a mixture of text language, slang and patois, the story became legendary and was passed around playgrounds all over London. But when she fi...

Matt Goss: Life and loss in a superstar boy band

Nov 23 • 40:03
In the late 80s, the British group Bros was one of the most successful pop acts in the world. Made up of lead singer Matt Goss, his twin brother Luke, and childhood friend Craig Logan, Bros quickly achieved multi-platinum selling albums and legions of adoring fans. But behind the scenes not everything was as it seemed. By 1992 the band had collapsed, and the relationship b...

The Jewish prisoner, the treasure hunters and the secret diary

Nov 22 • 39:42
A few years ago, Menachem Kaiser went to Poland to uncover his family history. All he knew was that his grandfather survived the Holocaust but the rest of his relatives were killed. In search of his family’s lost home, Menachem met a group of treasure hunters who led him to a secret diary and the story of the Nazi’s mysterious underground city, Project Riese. Menachem Kais...

Fighting the apartheid my grandfather created

Nov 20 • 26:28
Wilhelm Verwoerd has spent most of his life wrestling with his surname and what it represents. His grandfather, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, is widely known as the 'architect of apartheid' in South Africa because of the brutal policies he introduced as a government minister and then prime minister of the country in the 1950s and 1960s. But Wilhelm turned his back on his family's a...

I still believe I'm lucky even after breaking my neck

Nov 18 • 40:16
In 2017 Ed Jackson had everything to look forward to. A professional rugby player, the 28-year-old had just signed another two-year contract with the Welsh team Dragons, and he and his girlfriend Lois had got engaged and were planning a fabulous wedding in Italy the following year. All of that changed in a split second when Ed mistakenly dived into the shallow end of a swi...

Harvard Law School’s first Deafblind graduate

Nov 17 • 18:42

Hostage: A spider, starvation and solitude in the desert

Nov 15 • 01:01:05
While travelling through West Africa in 2018, Canadian Edith Blais and her companion Luca Tacchetto were kidnapped by al-Qaeda. They were taken to the desert in a lawless area of Mali where they were, initially, held together for some months. But then they were separated, and Edith found herself alone for long periods of time. As well as suffering physically with dehydrati...

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