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    In the United States, the child welfare system was set up to protect the interests of young children, not to raise teens to adulthood. By preparing teens in foster care to be their own advocates, Betsy is helping them envision and achieve a brighter future. Once they can change their own prospects for life beyond foster care, they can change the system itself.

    Seizing the opportunity posed by a nation-wide curriculum reform, Peter Volmink is working to introduce effective instruction about human rights in South African schools. As a member of an advisory committee and related task forces that are helping the Department of Education construct and implement the new curriculum, Peter has won the necessary approvals for the inclusion of a human rights component.

    Dr. Pam Cantor is working to reengineer public schools to respond to the recurring challenges of teaching and learning that stem from the traumatic impact of poverty.

    As government recognizes it cannot possibly fulfill its pledge of affordable housing without going bankrupt first, Andrea Bolnick is demonstrating a new approach to providing “dwellings with dignity” to South Africa’s most vulnerable. Through active community engagement, Andrea is able to firmly place slum dwellers in the driver’s seat and bring about needed renovations to their homes.

    Working in villages in southern Thailand, Samart Sakawee has developed a novel savings group that not only creates new economic opportunities for its members, but also cultivates the central values of civil society–good governance, transparency, and participation–from the village-up.

    In the face of Zimbabwe's contracting economy and declining public services, Godfrey Mureriwa is organizing and training young people to find their own solutions and create their own ventures in order to develop sustainable livelihoods.

    Mitch Besser has developed a groundbreaking program to support programs that prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV by encouraging mothers living with HIV to become peer educators and provide support to similarly affected pregnant women and new mothers.

    The second largest employer in the United States, the restaurant industry, is home to seven of the ten lowest-paying occupations. Saru Jayaraman is leading a nationwide effort to transform this industry’s subpar employment practices by aligning worker, employer, and consumer interests.

    In a nation where natural disasters strike often and with devastating effects, Dr. Parag Mankeekar is helping India’s children master disaster preparation and response planning. Parag’s training camps and computer games create simulations that teach children how to be effective first responders for their families and communities following a disaster.

    Ellen is working to establish a new cultural norm when it comes to end-of-life care: one in which individuals and families talk openly about their values and wishes—particularly with those who will make decisions for them if they can’t make them for themselves.