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tv   Asia Insight  PBS  March 4, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm PST

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>> the novices here practice tibetan buddhism, the national religion. a man arrives. he's come to teach the nuns how to repair shoes. he works in a repair shop like this one. this is one of the world's least developed countries and many people only own one pair of shoes. but by learning how to repair them, their shoes will last longer.
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he has been distributing shoes to the poor rural areas free of charge. the shoes are collected in the more affluent capital to be cleaned and recycled. >> translator: there are shoes in the capital and people in the countryside don't have any to wear. want to do something about this disparity. >> in this episode of asia insight, we follow a man's efforts to ensure that no one in butan has to go without shoes.
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the kingdom of butan with a population of 730,000 lies south of the himalayas. traditional attire is still worn in schools and at official events. however, people now commonly sport modern leather shoes. multicolors sneakers are popular with the younger generation. in this photograph, most people are barefooted. in the past, shoes were considered a luxury. and not everyone could afford to own them. shoes became popular in the 1970s when butan began to open up to the outside world.
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there are now 50 shoe stores, a wide variety of foot ware is available, mostly imported from countries such as china and india. while such shoe stores exist in thimpu and major towns, there are none in the rest of the country. this woman has arrived in the capital from a village 18 kilometers away. >> translator: i've come to buy new shoes because it's so cold. i only buy new shoes once every two or three years. >> the woman is wearing plastic like this is common in rural areas. >> translator: in the cold, my heel splits. >> her budget is just $3.
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>> translator: i'd really like warm boots like these, but they cost $6. they are far too expensive. >> in the end, she buys some plastic shoes that at least cover her heels. along with the increase in shoe stores, there is also been a rise in the number of shoe repair stores. at present, there are five here. this man set up his shoe cleaning and repair business in january 2011. his store is the only one to also offer shoe laundry services. cleaning starts at $1.30 per
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pair and repairs cost anywhere between 30 cents and $5. he averages around 10 to 15 customers per day. >> translator: can you clean these? i'd like both the inside and outside cleaned. i think he is very skilled especially at washing shoes and boots. if we do it, we might spoil the shoe. dawa was training in india to become a nurse. but dropped out of school after deciding it wasn't what he really wanted to do. as he struggled to find employment back home in thimbu, he noticed the number of people wearing shoes was on the rise. >> translator: we have so many laundry services for clothes. but until i started this store, there were no actual
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professional laundries for cleaning shoes. i saw it as a good business opportunity. so that's how this idea of cleaning and repairi came about. >> dawa invited a specialist over from india to teach him how to clean shoes properly. after the store opened, his reputation spread by word of mouth and little by little, his business grew. over time, dawa noticed something interesting. when he visited customer's homes to pick up and return their shoes, he found that many of them had old ones they no longer wore. he felt he could put these to good use. >> translator: in thimpu, everyone wears shoes now. but not in the countryside.
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i thought something needed to be done. >> eight months after launching his business, dawa came up with a plan. he used posters and flyers to call for thimpu residents to bring any foot ware they no longer used to the square in the city center. 100 university volunteers came out to help out n one day, they collected 2,300 pairs of foot ware of all kinds. >> translator: i was delighted, but more than anything, i felt satisfied. >> the shoes were taken to his store where he cleaned and repaired each and every one. the costs were covered by donations. in march 2012, dawa began to distribute the shoes to rural
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areas. he started in areas close to thimpu and then continued ton the central and southern parts of the country. >> when i first delivered the shoes and saw how people reacted and how delighted they were to receive them, i felt that this was something i needed to continue with. >> in just three years since the start of dawa's campaign, awareness has spread and people actually now call to donate unused shoes. today dawa and volunteers are heading to a condominium block in the southern part of thimpu.
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dawa tells theady where the foot we will probably go. >> translator: in the countryside, there are many mountain paths, muddy tracks and rough roads. it's difficult for everyone to get around. these shoes will be great for ople in rural areas. >> translator: if i can help people without shoes, then i'm very happy. >> translator: trauk fhank you your generosity. >> another family provides six pairs of shoes.
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>> translator: we can't throw away our old shoes. they take up much space. so it's helpful. >> they gathered 14 pairs of shoes today. >> translator: thank you very much. back at the store, the cleaning process begins. the shoes are washed one at a time. different pressures are used depending on the material and the part of the shoe being washed. it can take up to 90 minutes to clean just one pair. >> translator: i wash between five and 20 pairs every day. it doesn't feel like a burden. it's something we have a duty to
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do. >> after the shoes are tried, it's time to repair them. the soles of these sneakers are peeling off with the back of one in very bad condition. dawa uses sand paper to remove the original adhesive before scouring the underlying surface. this improves the bonding of the new adhesive and allows it to work longer. the cost of the repair materials is covered by the donations. dawa himself makes no profit. he adds an inner sole. and the job is complete. >> translator: we want to honor the sentiments of the team who
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ha people who donated shoes. we must respect them and do the best job we can. this zis one of the coldest pars of the country. temperatures typically fall below zero in winter. they eventually arrive at a mountain village of around 100 households. the villagers know dawa is coming and some 50 people are there to welcome him.
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most are wearing sandals without any socks. this family has been wearing these sandals for over a year with no protection from the cold, the skin on her feet has dried and is turning a reddish black. her mother also has just one pair of sandals.
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>> translator: it is very cold but we don't have any money to buy shoes. >> dawa lays out the shoes. he brought around 200 pair of all sizes for children and adults. some don't now their own shoe size. >> translator: what about these? these would be good for your baby. >> from experience, he can tell a person's shoe size simply by looking at their feet.
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>> translator: does everybody have some? how about you? you choose. >> dawa takes sure to make sure that no one misses out. >> translator: i went to a village once to deliver some shoes. after i had given them all out and was getting ready to go home and a child came up to me. he asked me when i was coming back again. so i asked him why he wanted to know and he said because i didn't get any shoes. if there are 50 children and 49 of them get shoes and one didn't, how bad, how left out
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will that last child feel? since then, i make sure everyone gets a pair. >> he chooses some canvas shoes. >> mom, help me. my hands are too cold to tie the laces. >> she's happy to wear sneakers again. >> translator: they feel warm. >> her mother has chosen leather shoes. >> they fit. they make me feel taller, too. >> about an hour later, all the villagers have new foot ware. up until now, dawa distributed
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more than 6,000 pairs of shoes. he's been to over 20 different locations focusing on the poorest areas. written on the inner wall of his store is his favorite quote. >> translator: i keep on working and i get tired. i need something to boost me and motivate me, too. >> dawa has recently started teaching shoe repair. believing that if more people have the skill, the easier it will be for them and their communities to keep their shoes in good condition. he's already held workshops in
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14 of the 20 districts. today dawa is visiting a district in central butan. the journey is long and takes ten hours by road. he'll spend two days running a work shop at a nunnery. this tibet an nunnery was built in 1968. about 150 nuns and novices live here.
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most are from villages in central and eastern butan. only a month ago. she's in the initial stages of her training. >> translator: i want to study tibetan buddhism. >> her parents are farmers in a poor village in eastern butan. with barely enough to exist, they wanted the youngest of their three children to become a nun. she arrived with just a pair of sandals and two sets of traditional clothing. she says she bought the sandals from a store in a neighboring town about a day's walk from her village. she was very fond of them but
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around a week ago the strap broke. >> translator: it was so sudden. i'm sad. >> this woman entered the sisterhood ten years ago. she's been wearing the same pair of shoes for the past 18 months. and the sole is peeling off from one of them. >> translator: dirt and pebbles get inside. it hurts. dawa teaches them the importance of shoe repairing. >> translator: what do you do if
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your shoes get ruined? >> i throw them away. >> translator: you throw them away and buy new ones? i'm sure your father doesn't have money to burn, does he? >> translator: he doesn't. >> translator: today i'm going to teach you how to repair your shoes so that they will last a long time. let's get started. >> on first day, dawa explains how to use adhesive. the glue. but only the tip. >> he then splits the young women into groups and they practice using old shoes kept at the temple. dawa goes around the room demonstrating the technique to everyone.
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chang tries to repair her own shoes. >> translator: make sure the shoe and sole match exactly. and then apply equal pressure from the outside and the inside. >> chang presses the glued areas together and then inserts an inner sole. >> translator: i did it. it's back how it was. i can't believe it was ever broken. >> the second day, dawa explains how to mend shoes with needle
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and thread. she brings her sandals with the broken strap. >> translator: what should we do? it was originally like this. so let's use a patch and stitch it together. she tries to repair her sandals herself. but as she starts to sew, the needle gets stuck. dawa offers advice. >> translator: you need to press down here firmly. push the needle until you see it come through. then slide the sandal towards
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the edge of the table. and coax the needle through diagonally. >> she follows his advice and tries again. after about an hour, she finally completes the job. >> translator: how is it? >> translator: you did a great job. >> she is overjoyed and now can wear her favorite sandals once
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again. chang also have wearing the shoes that she repaired. every day she carries rice and vegetables along the uneven path from the temple store house to the kitchen. today she's carrying a 25 kilogram bag of rice. >> translator: i didn't get dirt or stones in my shoes. they're very comfortable. >> when the work shop is over, dawa leaves behind tools and materials hoping that his students will continue to use them. >> translator: many of us do not have much money at all. so i think it's very useful for us to learn about shoe repair.
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i am very grateful that this work shop was held here. >> dawa believes through his workshops the skill of repairing shoes will spread throughout butan. >> translator: i have one goal. i want everyone in butan to have shoes to wear. i will continue to strive towards achieving that through workshops, repair and cleaning and distributing recycled shoes. >> dawa will work tirelessly to bring the people of butan a little happiness with shoes that will stand the test of time.
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steves: the dramatic rock of cashel
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is one of ireland's most evocative sites. this was the seat of ancient irish kings for seven centuries. st. patrick baptized king aengus here in about 450 a.d. in around 1100, an irish king gave cashel to the church, and it grew to become the ecclesiastical capital of all ireland. 800 years ago, this monastic community was just a chapel and a round tower standing high on this bluff. it looked out then, as it does today, over the plain of tipperary, called the golden vale because its rich soil makes it ireland's best farmland. on this historic rock, you stroll among these ruins in the footsteps of st. patrick, and wandering through my favorite celtic cross graveyard, i feel the soul of ireland.
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they say ambassador limb perspective is not seriously hurt. president obama spoke to him by phone and wished him a speedy recovery. he's a close aide to obama. south koreans have been protesting against recent remarks by a senior u.s. state department official. they say the official appeared to side with japan on historical issues. wendy sherman said last friday that the past limits future possibilities for cooperation among south korea, china and


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