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What is a Mother Worth?

“No one has ever believed in me except Lua Nova,” proclaimed one young mother who has battled a lifetime of domestic violence, homelessness, and drug abuse in the favelas of São Paulo, Brazil.

Remembering Ashoka India Fellow Nitin More

It is with deep sorrow and regret that we inform your that one of our very own, Nitin More, passed away on the 26th of January 2011.

Peer Educators, Myths, and World AIDS Day

1 in 4 sex workers in Bali are suffering from HIV. And those are the ones that have already been tested, not the host of others that have not. That is quite a large percentage, but these women have been tested, and many are being treated. The real problem lies in the housewives and the newborns, whose diagnosed number is on the rise. These are the real victims as they are out of reach from the various innovative programs going on that target sex workers and ‘at risk’ groups.

Passo a Passo

Fourteen-year old Ingrid, in recovery from a crippling crack addiction at the Lua Nova residency in Araçoiaba, Brazil, found out that she is pregnant this past week. Two days after the news broke she ran away. The weight and terror of such an unknown future was simply too much to bear, and she, along with many other girls at Lua Nova, imagine that fleeing is the only solution. Facing up to the challenges at hand, rising slowly above them to create a new life is a wrenching process that takes active dedication.

Ideas from the Fringe, Front and Center

Atlantic Monthly celebrates Ashoka Fellow Sakena Yacoobi in its Brave Thinkers Edition

Putting it into Practice: Building Local Capacity to Improve Maternal Health

It has been a month since I arrived in Argentina. I am based in Pilar, a town at the northern border of the municipal boundaries of Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires and the Province of Buenos Aires.

Gender Trends

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof writes that women have a special and important role in social change.  What does that mean for Ashoka US where only approximately 1/3 of our Fellows are women? How do we diversify gender in our Fellowship?


Internationally Acclaimed Hungarian Independent Midwife and Ashoka Fellow Dr. Agnes Gereb Imprisoned, Pending Trial

The story of Ashoka Fellow Agnes Gereb is the story of homebirthing in modern Hungary.  A story that shows how Hungary, since its return to full independence in 1990, continues to restrict free choice of its citizens in the hugely important area of childbirth. 

Security and Solidarity: An Ashoka Story

I am often asked to explain the importance of the Ashoka Fellowship as community. Is there actually a sense of common purpose and mutual support, or is it merely a collection of talented individuals? Recently I spent a week in Hong Kong with the Asian Human Rights Commission, a citizen organization built by Ashoka Fellow Basil Fernando. Returning to their neat and busy offices recalled to me a remarkable illustration of the real meaning and value of the Fellowship.

America's Promise Meant for Everyone

"Can you believe that, at one point, women couldn't vote in America? That Japanese American citizens were put in detention camps because of the actions of the Imperial Japanese Navy? That Jackie Robinson was spat upon on the baseball diamond because of the color of his skin? That there were quotas on Jews at Ivy League Universities? That mosques were opposed across the country and a shocking number of people suggested a Muslim should be disqualified from the Supreme Court or the Presidency because of his religion?