Bill Drayton, U.S.
Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
In 1980, Bill Drayton, former Assistant Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection agency who pioneered the first demonstration of “emissions trading”–a market-based approach to pollution reduction that has since been adopted around the world–founded Ashoka: Innovators for the Public based on the recognition that social entrepreneurs deliver the highest leverage and impact society-wide for addressing social problems.
Drayton, a former management consultant with McKinsey & Company, established Ashoka to provide social entrepreneurs — and their new ideas — with financial backing and a series of professional supports to help them spread their ideas and solutions, individually and collectively. Through Ashoka, Drayton has played a major role developing and legitimizing the profession of social entrepreneurship.
Jeroo Billimoria, India
Jeroo Billimoria has provided millions of vulnerable children living in India with a 24-hour toll free telephone hotline that connects them to an extensive network of hundreds of child-service organizations, making it possible for ordinary citizens, policemen or social workers to assist children in danger at any time. Manned by street children themselves, Childline combines 24-hour emergency telephone services with follow-up support to alleviate their distress. Through the franchise model, Childline has been able to multiply rapidly to more than 40 Indian cities. Jeroo is currently spearheading the replication of Childline India throughout Europe and Asia.
Erzsébet Szekeres, Hungary
Alliance Industrial Union
Assisted Living for the Disabled
Erzsébet Szekeres developed a program to address three of the most difficult problems that disabled adults face in Hungary — a lack of job training, few employment opportunities, and a housing shortage. By addressing these issues, she is helping the disabled to be as independent as possible and is replacing the outdated, paternalistic approach of the state toward this segment of society. Her organization has built centers across Hungary which provide skills training, access to employment and housing for previously institutionalized disabled citizens. Currently, Erzsébet is spreading her model throughout Europe with the help of the Committee for Disabled of the European Union.
Vera Cordeiro, Brazil
Saúde Criança Renascer Association
Vera Cordeiro founded the Saúde Criança (“Children’s Health”) Renascer Association in 1991 at the Public Hospital of Lagoa in Rio de Janeiro, with the aim of providing emergency assistance to ill children from low-income families during and immediately after hospitalization. Hundreds of children enter Brazil’s public hospitals each month, many of whom live in extreme poverty. Factors linked to economic, domestic, psychological and social conditions create unbearable burdens for these children and their families. Naturally, these adverse conditions inhibit a child’s recuperation and guarantee repeated hospital visits. Renascer seeks to break this vicious cycle by providing families with the minimum material and psychological support necessary to foster home recovery or at least to minimize patient suffering. Since its inception, Renascer has been duplicated in fourteen public hospitals in Rio de Janeiro and two other cities, assisting 20,000 children. The organization is developing a model which Cordeiro is working to reproduce in public hospitals across Brazil.
J.B. Schramm, U.S.
College Access for Low-Income Students
J.B. Schramm is helping low-income students across the U.S. enroll and succeed in college. Operating from outside the educational system, J.B. has identified a fundamental disconnect that prevents thousands of high-potential students from attending college. (College graduates can expect to earn $1 million more during their lifetimes than high school graduates.) J.B. has designed a program that motivates all the actors within this system (students, high schools, colleges, and communities) to correct it. His training programs are designed for high school students who possess the talent to succeed in college, but lack the support to maneuver through the application process to present their strengths effectively.
College Summit organizes intensive, four-day, on-campus workshops during which low-income high school seniors complete their college applications essays, overcome emotional hurdles through peer-support, receive one-on-one college counseling, complete common applications and learn to navigate the financial aid system. College Summit students enroll in college at a rate of 80 percent, against a national average of low-income enrollment of 46 percent. The organization is now working with city governments in Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland and Charleston to help rebuild the college guidance systems in public schools.
Veronica Khosa, South Africa
Tateni Home Care Nursing Services
Care for AIDS Patients
Veronica Khosa saw that the health care system in South Africa was unable to manage the AIDS crisis. A nurse by trade, she had visited hundreds of people with AIDS who were suffering alone in their homes, with no one around to provide simple care or pain relief. In response, she founded Tateni Home Care Nursing Services and instituted a community-based model capable of addressing the AIDS pandemic at the enormous scale of the problem. She spent years developing and professionalizing her basic home-care model, instituting an innovative system to provide training to thousands of unemployed youths so they could offer effective care to the people in their communities and families. The government has adopted her model for the largest state in South Africa and it has since spread to more than fifty localities. Through the recognition of the world’s leading health organizations, the idea is spreading beyond South Africa. Khosa is now developing a community-based response to orphan care that she plans to spread nationally.
Javed Abidi, India
National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People
Javed Abidi is organizing a united cross-disability movement to make legislative rights and economic opportunities a reality for 60 million disabled Indians. Simultaneously, he is building partnerships with the government and the corporate sector to define legal incentives and corporate policies for the equitable employment of the disabled. Abidi led a successful movement in 2000 for the inclusion of the disabled in the country’s first census of the new millennium. He played a key role in the passage of the Indian Disability Act. Through his strategic leadership and tireless efforts, the Indian disability movement has achieved many significant gains in the past seven years, including improving access to buildings, hotels, transport systems, universities and national monuments (including the Taj Mahal) and influencing many corporations to increase employment opportunities for disabled.
James Grant, U.S.
The Child Survival Revolution
Grant conceived of and orchestrated a global campaign to stop the needless deaths of millions of children each year from easily preventable illnesses. The “child survival and development revolution” that he launched in 1983 mobilized massive international support to bring cheap, life-saving medicines and technologies to children in developing countries including vaccinations and oral rehydration therapy to prevent death from diarrhoeal dehydration, the single biggest killer of children. By 2000, this revolution for children was estimated to have saved 25 million young lives.
Grant also made possible another milestone for children: the 1989 World Summit for Children, and the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the ground-breaking treaty The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which entered into force as a part of international law within a year.