Alexander McLean has so much compassion for the suffering inmates of Africa that he has dedicated much of his life to caring for them and personally making sure their needs are met. In 2004, when he was only 18 years old, he founded the “African Prisoners Project,” or APP, after witnessing a shackled inmate in a hospital lying in his own waste. The suffering was already more than enough; depriving people of their basic right to life was something from which he just couldn’t look away.
It is very difficult for someone who has suffered sexual abuse and exploitation to stand up and move on with her life, and even more difficult to openly share her experiences for the sake of public awareness. But for Withelma "T" Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, this is no issue. Having endured the devastating experience of being trafficked during her teenage years, Withelma did not allow her circumstances to prevent her from speaking out so other girls may be spared from the same horrible fate.
William Kamkwamba was only 14 years old when he built a windmill from scratch; he refused to be limited by poverty. When he was forced out of school due to the famine that hit Malawi, William continued to study on his own. Not only did he study, he looked for solutions. Now, William is the author of the book “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” and part of an organization called “Moving Windmills.”
For some people, it takes a good deal of seeing to start believing. Yann Arthus-Bertrand understands the need to see, and so he made it his mission to spread the word using images. He founded the “Altitude Agency,” the world's first press agency and images bank specializing in aerial photography. But it does more than capture breath-taking images; it tells a story, an urgent call to preserve what beauty is left of this planet. After starting out as an artist, Yann converted happily to an activist.
Franz Weber has been championing the causes of environmentalism and animal rights since the 1960s, and he remains one of the most active environmentalists in the world. His passion for protecting and preserving nature has made a tremendous impact through the “Franz Weber Foundation,” which he founded himself.
There is no issue more pressing in society today than human rights. All around the world, whether in the “land of the free” or in the most dictatorial states, there has been, in every shape and form, a violation of the concept of human rights. Fortunately, there are those who dedicate their lives to fighting for human rights, doing everything they can so everyone can live in fairness and equality.
At only seven years old, Shanna Decker battled cancer and lived on to tell her story and inspire others. What she went through is enough to sap anyone of their hope and make cynics out of children; but Shanna discovered something else. She discovered her love for the Lord, which strengthened her all throughout her cancer battle. Her family’s ordeal, meanwhile, brought them closer and made them even more caring. With the help of her parents, Shanna set up “Brighter Tomorrows” to help families who go through the torture of having a family member suffer from cancer.
The orangutan is one of the creatures that most-closely resemble human beings. They are lovable not only for their appearance, but also the behavioural and character traits they share with us. Even among all apes, orangutans stand quite unique because of how they resemble humans with heightened intelligence, the ability to feel emotions and friendliness to human beings.
Helen Bamber is a renowned psychotherapist who founded the “Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture” when she was 65 years old. Her work goes way back to when she was 20 years old, when she went to the recently-liberated German concentration camp “Bergen-Belsen” to support survivors in the aftermath of World War II. She came face-to-face with people who had suffered unimaginable horrors, and says of the experience: "Many were to die but to all I could say [was] ‘your story will be told, I will be your witness.’” At 80 years old, she co-founded the “Helen Bamber Foundation,” where forms of clinical, legal and practical help for victims of interpersonal violence, such as torture and human trafficking, are available.
Mata Amritanandamayi is known all over the world as the “hugging saint.” She is called by her disciples and followers as “Amma” or Mother in English. Since the beginning of her spiritual vocation, Mata is believed to have hugged a total of 37 million people coming from all walks of life. She is regarded as one of the most revered spiritual figures by Hindus and other denominations. Coming from a very poor family, her devotion to her faith enabled her to help the needy by inspiring organizations to put up hospitals and schools.