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    Mara Ferreira, a former geographer, urban planner, and systems analyst for the city of Rio de Janeiro, has taken her skills and training to the countryside. She has developed a comprehensive systems approach that grassroots rural communities can readily use.

    Márcia Ventura Dias reintegrates street children into society by providing safe alternatives to the street and supporting them in shelters that help them to cope with their past traumas. She works to humanize the children in the eyes of society and influence public institutions to create new models for sheltering at-risk children.   

    Maria Amélia Leite helps indigenous groups to reclaim and value their cultural identity, to join together as a politically powerful indigenous movement, and to defend their rights to land and public services.

    Daniel Gerardo Raviolo, an Argentine living in Brazil, has established a newspool, publishing, and advertising joint venture for small community and social organization newsletters.

    Helping Poor Communities Have a Say in Their Own Development

    Patricia Bustamante's environmental education program for rural Brazil brings the elderly and children together to catalogue plants, rediscover their traditional uses and create community-based nurseries and seed banks.

    With respect and admiration, we honor the work of Ashoka Fellow Cleodon Silva. He made the world a better place for all those he met. Cleodon Silva is creating a model for civic participation through open source georefencing technology, in order to adequately help communities, citizen organizations, businesses and government entities identify local social needs and design appropriate solutions.

    Renê Patriota is a physician who empowers consumers to demand and receive better health care from both the public health system and private health insurance and health plans. Her association resolves immediate problems that threaten patients' access to urgently needed medical attention and seeks long-term solutions to guarantee patients' access to quality health services. Renê's work enables individuals to become active citizens as they exercise their right to quality health care.

    Howard Weinstein’s business model gives access to low-cost, high quality hearing aid technology to the low-income people in developing countries that need it most. His deaf employees are taught to become leaders and advocates for the full inclusion of hearing-impaired people in society.

    Incarcerated youth in Brazil face daily violence and abuse, confined by a system with little respect for their humanity and dignity. Conceição Paganele places the mothers of these young people at the head of a campaign to reform the juvenile justice system and ensure fair, humane rehabilitation for Brazilian youth.