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November 26, 2010 7:49 AM   Subscribe

Now in its fourth year, CNN Heroes highlights and rewards "Everyday People Changing the World." This year's Hero of the Year (chosen by public poll) is Anuradha Koirala, whose group Maiti Nepal has rescued more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery along the India / Nepal border since 1993.

Koirala will receive $100,000 to continue her work with Maiti Nepal, in addition to the $25,000 awarded to each of the top 10 Heroes honored.

Last year's Hero, Efren Peñaflorida, "was honored for creating mobile "pushcart classrooms," carts stocked with books, chalkboards and other supplies, that bring education to poor children in the Philippines. Since 1997, he and more than 12,000 teenage volunteers have taught basic reading and writing skills to more than 1,800 children living on the streets." The linked article also notes that winning the award raised public awareness, helped fund an educational facility and: "With Peñaflorida's consultation, the pushcart classroom model started by his nonprofit organization, Dynamic Teen Company, has been replicated more than 50 times by different organizations and institutions across the Philippines."
posted by zarq (9 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

There were so many excellent people to choose from this year!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:33 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow. Their site is getting hammered.
posted by paladin at 10:32 AM on November 26, 2010

Wow. Their site is getting hammered.

It is. I've been looking for a cached version, but I'm not finding anything.
posted by zarq at 10:38 AM on November 26, 2010

Just days before I had hear about the CNN heros award and nominees, I had caught a documentary, The Day My God Died, which is focuses on Nepalese girls who'd been sold into the sex trade in India. Anuradha Koirala and her work through Maiti Nepal are featured in the documentary..

Not only does the organization participate in the rescue efforts, but even more importantly, they provide resources for these girls after they are rescued. May are shunned by their family and their villages, and their kidnappers are frequently still operating freely their. Tragically many of these girls have contracted HIV/Aids and Maiti Nepal also runs two hospices for their care as well as schools and other support for the surviving children.

I've never been so affected by a documentary that I immediately donated to the organization, but in this case I was. I'm sure all of the CNN heros are remarkable people and equally deserving of the award, but I was really excited when I heard that Koirala had won, since I had such a recent connection with her work and organization.
posted by kaybdc at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

geez, I need to preview more - "caught a documentary" sounds like a new media illness. I meant to say that I saw it on PBS (I think as part of their Independent Lens series). All I remember was that it was on really late one night when I couldn't sleep. As PBS frequently repeats things, it may be on again in the not to distant future.
posted by kaybdc at 11:20 AM on November 26, 2010

Thanks and congratulations--troll, snark and snide free. No small feat.
posted by rmhsinc at 3:14 PM on November 26, 2010

Thanks for posting this.
I saw the ads plastered all day for this yesterday while waiting at the clinic.

I automatically wrote it off because it was CNN, because they were pushing it so damn hard, and because they made it up to be some kind of star-studded affair.

The logical part of me said - give it a chance. You'll learn about what real heroes do.
The snarky part of me said - it's CNN. The'll find a way to turn it into something stupid.

Sadly the snarky part of me won.
I'm glad you gave it a chance and share it with us.
posted by bitteroldman at 6:18 PM on November 26, 2010

It's mind boggling that she has rescued 12,000 girls, mostly that there are that many girls being trafficked in the first place and secondly that she can help so many of them. I read an article on this charity a while ago but didn't know the name, thanks for posting it. I hope the spotlight that CNN shines on these people leads to some serious donations, all of the charities sound very worthwhile.
posted by fshgrl at 6:30 PM on November 26, 2010

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