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    Joao Jorge Santos Rodrigues has been a life-long resident of Salvador, Bahia, the capital of Afro-Brazilian culture. He has learned how to strengthen neighborhood cultural organizations economically, legally, and by helping them provide new social and political leadership. He now hopes to spread his approach nationally.

    Zoica Bakirtzief has conceived a way for people with disabilities to enter into the job market. Rather than focusing on the few opportunities that exist in the formal sector for people who are disabled, diseased, and undereducated, she is training them to start and run their own businesses.

    Marta is setting up an information system for the physically, mentally and sensorially disabled. The system will collect, produce, and disseminate important information for this currently neglected sector of the population, and with this service, Marta expects to influence public policy, thus improving the quality of life and citizenship of disabled populations.

    Dr. Juliana Bacis Ceddia, a physician specializing in cardiology, has created an effective method for treating heart defects among infants, children, and adolescents from poor families. She has demonstrated that it is possible to reform Brazil's rigid and poorly funded public health system to provide free, high-quality, specialized care to people of all classes.

    Walter Varanda is working with São Paulo's adult street population to ensure their basic survival and promote their long-term independence. He is engaging a wide array of individuals and institutions to encourage their active participation in crafting and implementing solutions to Brazil's homelessness problem.

    Dr. Pierre Foldes is developing an unprecedented holistic approach in a unique, free and accessible center, to efficiently overcome the issues these women are confronted with – medical, psychological, legal, and social – when they are ready to break the cycle of domestic violence. His solution is conceived as an ecosystem of cooperation between the (doctors, police, justice, small shops) to design and scale new ways of detecting and supporting these women until they are totally out of danger.

    To combat racism in Brazil, Regina dos Santos is using her training and experience in Black History to increase the participation of black people in television and other visual arts.

    Without legally established paternity, 30 percent of Brazil’s children raised by single mothers face lifelong stigma and limited financial means. Marli da Silva promotes the full citizenship and material and affective support of children abandoned by their fathers by supporting single mothers. She is reforming the legal system, changing public perceptions and mobilizing mothers to improve their lives.

    Based on his experience as a penitentiary system inmate, Ronaldo Monteiro is transforming how society views convicts. By constructing support networks and promoting entrepreneurialism, he is proving that ex-prisoners can be productive members of society and can break the cycle of repeat-offending.

    A recognized and respected leader in the area of human rights, Oscar Vilhena Vieira has pioneered the creation of a range of projects and activities in the human rights field both, in Brazil, to ensure that human rights guaranteed in the constitution come to be respected in practice and, at the international level, to change the focus from North-South linkages to South-South dialogue and cooperation.