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    In the state of Bahia, in the northeast of Brazil, Sonia Coutinho has developed a center for arts and alternative education for adolescents with moderate learning disabilities that is remarkably effective in aiding their transition from school to productive employment and facilitating their continued intellectual growth. It is also playing an important role in heightening public awareness of the potential of such individuals for productive roles in society.

    Hernani da Silva is addressing the social and economic exclusion of blacks in Brazil by combating racism within Brazil's fastest-growing religious segment: evangelical churches. He is building bridges to the secular Black Movement and government. Hernani is also launching human rights campaigns and stimulating a debate on racism between ministers and congregation members to find answers to social, racial, and economic exclusion.

    Maria Teresa Romeiro Leal, who works with seamstresses in a Brazilian slum, reveals two realities about business and poverty: first, workshops owned by poor women can compete in the world of haute couture; and second, making quality goods is the best way for poor women to find business partners, open markets, and earn a living.

    Maria “Zeca” José Rosado Nunes is promoting freedom of choice for Brazilian women concerning their sexuality and reproduction by incorporating religion into the feminist movement.

    Rosangela Bieler, a 32-year-old journalist and paraplegic, is the founder and president of the Independent Living Center of Rio de Janeiro, an organization which is spearheading the movement of disabled Brazilians to win full citizenship.

    Iraê Cardoso is leading an effort to have states in Brazil recognize the hearing impaired as a cultural and linguistic minority with the same rights as other minority groups.

    Through community radio stations that focus on gender, the environment and sustainable development issues from women's perspectives, Nina Magalhães is creating new job and life opportunities for rural women in Brazil.

    As a pioneer in the field of urban housing reform, Maria das Gracas “Graca” Xavier is mobilizing historically excluded groups to take charge of their housing needs, and in turn, advance their legal and political interests.

    Jussara Gruber is helping the Ticuna indigenous people in Amazonas State to establish stronger identity and self-respect by organizing an ethnographic Museum reflecting the Ticuna's own priorities. The Museum she has established serves as an important tool for helping the Ticuna defend their culture and lands against predatory landowners and loggers, and as a broader instrument for indigenous people's resistance, values, and rights within Brazilian society.

    Tashka Yawanawá works to restore the dignity and sense of identity of indigenous communities in Brazil through a series of cultural revitalization efforts and innovative business partnerships—proving that maintaining cultural integrity need not conflict with achieving economic prosperity.