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Extraordinary first person stories from around the world

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Extraordinary first person stories from around the world

    The tycoon who became 'Mr Toilet'

    The tycoon who became 'Mr Toilet'

    Jack Sim is a Singaporean multi-millionaire tycoon with an unusual nickname: Mr Toilet.
    His obsession with toilets has had him mingling with presidents, A-list celebrities, he's even had a resolution passed at the UN. After growing up without a working toilet in Singapore he's now on a global mission to make sure others don't go through the same.

    Presenter: Emily Webb

    Picture: Jack Sim aka Mr Toilet
    Credit: Jim Orca

    • 22 min
    The 25 day sit-in that changed history

    The 25 day sit-in that changed history

    When Judy Heumann was growing up in the 1950s, expectations for someone like her were low. Her disability wasn't her main problem, it was other people's prejudices. Judy Heumann was the first person in a wheelchair to become a teacher in New York, and she went on to dedicate her life to fighting discrimination. In doing, so has helped shape history. In April 1977, she helped orchestrate the longest ever occupation of a federal building in the history of the US. As a result of that, important regulations were brought in which made it both illegal and costly to discriminate against disabled people in many areas. And those regulations paved the way for further victories. Her book is called Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist.

    Presenter: Emily Webb.
    Producer: Fiona Woods.

    Picture: Judy Heumann. 
    Credit: Rick Guidotti/Positive Exposure.

    • 40 min
    Discovering my grandfather's secret Nazi past

    Discovering my grandfather's secret Nazi past

    Growing up, Julie Lindahl felt a sense of shame hung over her family, but had no idea why. Her father’s dying words confirmed she needed answers. And so began a seven year search for information. She started at the German Federal Archives where she was handed a file that exposed her grandfather’s Nazi past. Her findings sent her on a life-changing journey to track down and make amends with people who had fallen victim to her grandfather’s brutality.

    Julie has written a book about her story called The Pendulum.

    Presenter: Andrea Kennedy
    Producer: Mariana Des Forges

    Picture: Julie Lindahl aged three and her grandfather in Brazil
    Credit: Julie Lindahl

    • 26 min
    The stolen Picasso and the forest quest

    The stolen Picasso and the forest quest

    A few years ago, writer Mira Feticu received an anonymous letter with instructions on how to find a stolen Picasso, buried under a tree in a Romanian forest. The painting, the Tête d'Arlequin or Harlequin Head, had been stolen in 2012 from the Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum. Within days, Mira had found the spot where the artwork was supposed to be hidden. But a shock was in store.
     
    Presenter: Jo Fidgen.
    Producer: Fiona Woods.

    Picture: Pablo Picasso's Harlequin Head.
    Credit: The Triton Collection Foundation.

    • 20 min
    23 years longing to find my mum

    23 years longing to find my mum

    When war broke out in Somalia in the 1990s, Omar Mohamed’s dad was killed and he was separated from his mum. Omar, who was only four at that time, picked up his disabled younger brother Hassan and started running. The brothers eventually ended up in Kenya’s vast Dadaab refugee camp - the biggest refugee camp in Africa. For years, they never stopped looking for their mother. Until one day, rumours spread around the camp that a woman was looking for them. Could this stranger be Omar and Hassan’s mum? 
     
    Omar's extraordinary story has been turned into a graphic novel co-written by Victoria Jamieson, and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy. It’s called When stars are scattered. Omar has set up his own charity called Refugee Strong.
     
    Presenter: Jo Fidgen.
    Producers: Katy Takatsuki and June Christie.

    Picture: Omar Mohamed.
    Credit: Patrick Blain.

    • 39 min
    Name, shame and jail: Ghana's undercover journalist

    Name, shame and jail: Ghana's undercover journalist

    Anas Aremeyaw Anas is very well known in Africa, even though almost no one knows what he looks like. Anas is a trained lawyer-turned-investigative reporter in Ghana, and a frequent presenter of the BBC's Africa Eye. In his nearly 20 years working undercover, he's exposed judges taking bribes for a not guilty verdict; top football officials fixing matches; sex trafficking rings; organ harvesting. To do so, he had to disguise himself as a psychiatric patient, as a janitor in a brothel and as a rock in a barren landscape. His work has led to numerous convictions, but his methods are sometimes dangerous and controversial. His latest investigation for BBC Africa Eye is called Corona Quacks, exposing the sale in Ghana of fake 'cures' for coronavirus.

    Presenter: Jo Fidgen.
    Producers: Andrea Kennedy and Harry Graham.

    Picture: Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
    Credit: BBC Africa Eye.

    • 24 min

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