That's the title of the first Unit of Inquiry that my students study at BLIS. They learn about needs and wants, how those look different depending on climate and location and how some don't have their needs met equally and what happens as a result. It's a pretty amazing thing for kids to gain a more global understanding of basic needs for survival and to see them grasp it and to become more socially responsible is simply a thrill. Not all the kids get it and not all of them take action, but some do and hopefully more will in the future.
To help the kids understand the consequences of not having our basic needs met, we took them to an animal shelter here in Ankara. It was eye-opening for all of us and left many of the adults heart broken. The shelter we went to see houses over 2,700 (yes, TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED) dogs alone. We weren't able to ascertain if they had a spaying/neutering program but it didn't seem like it as puppies were abundant. These dogs aren't tame and can't be adopted and the government seems to give minimal support as many of the animals looked to be on the brink of starvation. It was sad but it did drive home the point with many of our students about having our basic needs met and helping others meet theirs.
Here are some photos of what we saw:
The cage where some of the cats are kept. One climbed the cage door to try and get the kids to touch her.
The kids carrying the food they brought to give the animals. They were walking through a corridor of cages filled with malnourished nursing moms and puppies.
One of the cages filled with both female and male dogs.
More dogs. And this was the nicest of the cages... most were dirt and row after row of dog houses (thankfully the dogs can get out of the weather somewhat).