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How the other half live

I am so emotional right now. I have just finished watching the Channel4 show ‘How the other half live’. It is a new documentary series that focuses on charity at home. Many charities focus on helping families abroad so this time its bringing charity home. The show is basically about  wealthy families who choose to help a poor family in the UK.

Today’s episode was about  the Brotherston,who are wealthy and live in a big house with all the trimmings. Her family choose to help  Gumpo family. Now because its a rich white family helping a poor black family please do not make assumptions. Just go and watch the show on 4player.

The show begins by each family showing where they live. Ken earns a 6 figure salary. He comes from a poorer background.  The stark contrast is immediate. An estate where murders happen locally and many fights happen. Sharon and her husband came from Zimbabwe with her husband as refugees. She is now a single mum on benefits. Her debts are high  which leaves them with no money for basic stuff like a new bed. One her daughters just has a mattress to sleep on.

The Brotherston’s watch a video which introduces the Gumpo’s to them. The whole family watch and begin exchanging letters. The 1st gift is financial, this allows the Gumpos to clear some debts and buy new school uniforms. The show gets the views on rich and poor from both sides. Yolande Gumpo says she thinks private schools are about having fun and not education, yet she interacts with different cultures and loves learning. Grace Brotherston on the other hand describes many many different things her school, one of the best in the UK , does. She assumes that a poorer school does not do much sport.

Throughout the show the families keep in touch and visit each others homes.   Thus allowing each to see how the other half live. I was quite saddened to hear Yolande say that she thought most white people were rich. I would have so loved it if she was introduced or shown rich black people and not just the ones on telly with American accents.  When Grace and her family visited the Gumpo’s, I so loved her honesty. High rise council estate that is barely maintained, the entry stunk (the families reaction was classic but if you been to one you know). The table gift was perfect.

Throughout the show it showed small bits of kindness and charity. Though I think what was good was the fact that it made charity really real and personal. It is the kind of direct charity that you would love to see. Money you have given away helping someone else live or fulfil a better life.

Sharon Gumpo is now enrolled in a course and making steps to move up in life. With childcare sorted for a year courtesy of the Brotherston’s. Politicians just do not realise how much the extortionate cost of child care can hold someone back. Though thankfully people find ways and do what the got to do.

I cannot explain the emotions I felt throughout this show. The wealthy family were really nice, Nicer than I has expected. The poorer family were in spite of their circumstances were happy but looking for a way out and not just and hand out.  It also should remove the assumptions people of a  poor background just languish in benefit luxury.

Each family I believe got the right benefits and interaction. Now I must stop procrastinating and aim higher than where I am. If you have not seen this show you need to watch it. I have left out much of what happens because you just need to watch it to understand. Look forward to meeting the next 2 families next week

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4 Comments

  • Reply Deborah

    I heard about this programme and I’m gonna see if they do a re-run of it. Sounds interesting and moving. Thanks for posting.

    July 31, 2009 at 9:01 am
  • Reply Baz

    You can watch it at http://www.channel4.com/programmes/how-the-other-half-live

    August 1, 2009 at 12:06 am
  • Reply SoFrolushes

    @Deborah yes definitely try and watch it

    @Baz thanks for providing the direct link to watch online.

    August 2, 2009 at 7:07 pm
  • Reply Anonymous

    I watched it today on 4OD and thought it was very touching.

    May 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm
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