Independent Lens: The Revolutionary Optimists
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About This Episode
Amlan Ganguly empowers children to become activists and educators, with powerful results. The Revolutionary Optimists follows him as he attempts to replicate his work in the brick fields outside the city, where children live and work in unimaginable conditions.
Using street theater, puppetry, and dance as their weapons, the children in Calcutta's slums have cut their neighborhoods' malaria and diarrhea rates in half, and turned former garbage dumps into playing fields. Now, pushing at the limits of optimism, Amlan is attempting to take his work into the brickfields outside Calcutta, where spend their days making and carrying bricks using methods unchanged by centuries.
The Revolutionary Optimists proposes a workable solution to intractable problems associated with poverty, including preventable diseases and ineffectual governance. Ganguly's story suggests that education and child empowerment are crucial keys to lifting entire societies out of hopelessness.