The Global Gap: Mexico

BBC Radio 4

Global Gap is a series of five programmes where two people who do the same job, one from the UK and one from another country (in this series, Mexico), have a thought provoking conversation, to compare and contrast their working lives and the issues that arise in their jobs. The theme throughout the week is ‘the next generation’; each programme features young people who are the new generation of workers in their countries. We capture the differences in society and attitudes through their conversation and recordings of in their workplace.

Episode 1 (of 5): Business Students
Luke Robinson studies Management and Spanish at the University of Leeds and he speaks to Miguel Bueno who is studying Business Administration at University in Mexico City. They discover that university is only for the rich in Mexico, but there is a growing interest in Business Studies as Mexico’s economy rises. While Luke is looking forward to a placement in a large bank in the UK after university, Miguel is being encouraged to set up his own business.

Episode 2 (of 5): Fashion Designers
Craig Lawrence is one of our brightest young knitwear designers, making clothes for Lady Gaga among others. He talks about his experiences in the fashion industry with Mexican clothes designer Marvin Duran. Craig operates in a well-established fashion industry in the UK and his year revolves around London Fashion Week. Marvin’s success was almost overnight and he became famous in Mexico despite no formal training in fashion. The industry is not as established in Mexico, as people look to Paris and London. Meanwhile, the internet has meant that Craig’s designs are seen around the world.

Episode 3 (of 5): Green Politicians
Jason Kitkat is a young Green Party politician who runs Brighton and Hove City Council. He has a conversation with Arnold Richarde, who founded the Mexican Green Party and is now an environmental activist in Mexico City. They discover that Mexico City, because of its pressing problems, is more advanced than the UK in areas such as water preservation, recycling and living roof technology. Jason’s council is addressing the need for cycle routes in the city, while Arnold also has campaigned to stop the mass use of cars in Mexico City.

Episode 4 (of 5): Doctors
Laura Chambers is a young GP in the NHS in Rotherham, with a special interest in obesity and she speaks to Paula de La Garza, a doctor who runs a private clinic in Mexico City specializing in obesity and eating disorders. Laura discovers from Paula that Mexico has the largest number of children with obesity in the world, some of whom have heart attacks. Paula has even treated obese babies. While Laura has never treated very young children with these worrying symptoms, she is seeing increased obesity in her area and a reliance on junk food. Laura can refer patients to a special NHS clinic, set up alongside her GP practice, where patients are monitored and given tailor-made exercise regimes.

Episode 5 (of 5): Charity Workers
Fiona Patterson works for Barnardo’s in Bradford. She helps provide a special service for girls aged between 11 and 18 who are being exploited or groomed for sexual exploitation. She speaks to Sofia Almanza, a charity worker at Casa Alianza in Mexico City, who works with 12 – 18 year olds who have been abandoned, neglected or abused.

While Fiona works with young people who are housed with family or friends, Sofia’s service provide residential houses for homeless young people and helps people develop tools to deal with independent life. Sometimes in Mexico, the children are part of larger criminal organisations and many are drug dependent. There are worrying side effects of the drugs, such as blindness and stomach complaints.

Fiona sees many young people with very low self esteem, some of whom have left home to live with people who are now exploiting them sexually or using them to transport drugs. Her service helps the young people to identify their situations and remove themselves to a safer environment.

Broadcast on 3rd December 2012.

A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4.