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Meet the Heroes

The Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention Studies (CHAPS)

The Centre for HIV/AIDS Prevention Studies (CHAPS) seeks to perform and support innovative and safe medical male circumcision procedures as part of a minimum HIV prevention package.  CHAPS is most recognized for pioneering work in researching and promoting the scale up of medical male circumcision for HIV prevention (MMC) in South Africa and the region.

Dr. Ntlotleng Mabena is a lead physician and operations manager at the CHAPS Bophelo Pele Male Circumcision Clinic in Orange Farm, South Africa.
Dr. Ntlotleng Mabena is a lead physician and operations manager at the CHAPS Bophelo Pele Male Circumcision Clinic in Orange Farm, South Africa.

Q&A with Dr. Ntlotleng Mabena

Who inspires you?

Throughout my life and career, I have met many inspirational individuals, but my primary source of inspiration is my mother. She is a phenomenal woman, full of wisdom and compassion.

Why did you choose your profession?

I come from a family where healing is our main calling; my grandmother was a well-known traditional healer in the community; my mother a nurse by profession, aunts also traditional healers and one a psychologist. Being a medical doctor was my response to the family calling of healing.

What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received?

I have always been taught to have compassion towards human kind, in everything I do. More recently, my mom shared a quote with me, which has become my philosophy: “Strong people stand up for themselves, but the strongest people stand up for others.” This is really the true basis of my calling to public health.

Learn more about CHAPS at chaps.org.za

The Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication

The Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication (SCI) is a “not-for-profit” nongovernmental organization and the largest social change communication project in Africa. Using a combination of mass media, social mobilization and advocacy, the Soul City Institute aims to improve the quality of life and health of people in Southern Africa through strengthening individuals, communities and society based on active citizenship and principles of social justice. It is driven by the recognition that human rights are fundamental to health and development. Soul City Institute uses the best research available to create multi-media “edutainment,” making social issues part of popular and high quality entertainment formats. Soul City Institute’s programmes have influenced and shaped the lives of millions of children, adults and communities within South Africa and the continent.  Programs include Soul Buddyz, a multi-media “edutainment” vehicle for children aged 8-12 years old designed to promote their health and well-being.

Lebo Ramafoko is the CEO of Soul City Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Lebo Ramafoko is the CEO of Soul City Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Q&A with Lebo Ramafoko

If you had one super power, what would it be?

The power to remove all forms of inequality, discrimination and poverty.

If you could go to dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I would like to dine with the Princess of Wales, Princess Diana. She used her position of influence to impact the world. She was not blinded by the comfort of her life but realized that she can use it to achieve a greater purpose in life to highlight some of the challenges that the world was facing.

What’s the kindest act you’ve ever witnessed?

When people who have very little themselves open their homes to others around them it touches me immensely. It reminds me that you do not have to have plenty to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Learn more about Soul City at soulcity.org.za

Grassroot Soccer

Grassroot Soccer uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV. To achieve their mission, Grassroot Soccer continuously improves their innovative HIV prevention and life-skills curriculum, shares their program and concept effectively, and utilizes the popularity of soccer to increase their impact.  Grassroot Soccer hopes to see a world mobilized through soccer to create an AIDS-free generation.

Sikhumbuzo Mnculwane, better known as SK, is the site coordinator for Grassroot Soccer in Alexandra, South Africa.
Sikhumbuzo Mnculwane, better known as SK, is the site coordinator for Grassroot Soccer in Alexandra, South Africa.

Q&A with Sikhumbuzo Mnculwane

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the world, what would it be?

I would change the kind of leaders the world has. I would want to be lead by younger, more innovative leaders who are open to new solutions to the world’s challenges and less concerned with their political future.

If you could have dinner with one person (living or dead), who would it be and why?

My dad. He passed away a few years ago and I have loads of questions for him about being a man and trying to build a successful life.

You just won the Nobel Peace Prize. What is your acceptance speech in five words or less?

It’s an honor. Thank you.

What is the importance of humor in your work?

Humor breaks the ice when discussing sensitive issues with young people. We deal with many serious issues in young people’s lives and a little humor can brighten up the day for everyone. It helps to forget the world’s problems for a moment.

Learn more about Grassroot Soccer at grassrootsoccer.org

Dasra

Dasra is India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation working with philanthropists and social entrepreneurs to create large scale social change.  Dasra inspires collaborative giving and partnerships amongst philanthropists, funders and government.  Simultaneously, Dasra enables high-impact nonprofit organizations and social businesses to scale. Since 1999, Dasra has published 22 research reports, engaged over 500 philanthropists, multi-lateral agencies and corporate foundations and directed over US$34 million in strategic funding commitments to the social sector in India.

Deval Sanghavi is a partner and co-founder of Dasra Foundation in Mumbai, India.
Deval Sanghavi is a partner and co-founder of Dasra Foundation in Mumbai, India.

Q&A with Deval Sanghavi

If you could go to dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?

John D. Rockefeller III since he coined the term “venture philanthropy” and strongly believed in bringing more accountability, scale and impact to the development sector.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Always be passionate in your work!

What’s the importance of humor in your work?

Extremely critical in remaining motivated and sane given how complex and insurmountable these challenges may seem.

Learn more about Dasra at dasra.org

Society for Nutrition, Education & Health Action (SNEHA)

Society for Nutrition, Education & Health Action (SNEHA) works in partnership with communities and health systems building effective and replicable solutions, empowering women and their families in urban slums to improve their health.  A secular, Mumbai-based non-profit organization, SNEHA believes that investing in women’s health is essential to building viable urban communities. SNEHA targets four large public health areas – Maternal and Newborn Health, Child Health and Nutrition, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Prevention of Violence against Women and Children.

Neena Shah More is the programme director for SNEHA centers in Mumbai, India.
Neena Shah More is the programme director for SNEHA centers in Mumbai, India.

Q&A with Neena Shah More

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is the challenges I face on a daily basis which makes me feel constantly stimulated and motivated to give my best and the feeling of working in a wonderful team that can move mountains.

What is the kindest act you’ve ever witnessed?

There are so many incidents where my colleagues care for every child and woman. The best I can recall is where a child was wondering alone in a slum one late evening and my colleague mobilized help from bystanders, the local masjid (mosque) and many others to ensure the child was reunited with her grandmother from whom she had wandered off.

If you had one super power, what would it be and why?

The one super power that I dream about is to be a “female Buddha” who can bring love and peace to all, especially women and children. There is need for so much healing for all humans and living creatures for the “living” that must be and so much to be joyful about that I want to be the medium to bring that to all.

Learn more about SNEHA at snehamumbai.org

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UNAIDS

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, is an innovative partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. UNAIDS’ vision is zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS speaks out in solidarity with the people most affected by HIV in defense of human dignity, human rights and gender equality. UNAIDS empowers agents of change with strategic information and evidence to influence and ensure that resources are targeted where they deliver the greatest impact and bring about a prevention revolution. UNAIDSsupports inclusive country leadership for sustainable responses that are integral to and integrated with national health and development efforts.

Learn more about UNAIDS at unaids.org

Sulabh International Social Service Organisation

Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, a charitable, social, welfare, philanthropic and non-profit voluntary organisation founded in 1970 by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, is dedicated to Gandhian ideology of emancipation of scavengers. Sulabh has been working for the removal of untouchability and social discrimination against human scavengers, a section of Indian society condemned to clean and carry human excreta manually. Sulabh is noted for achieving success in the field of cost-effective sanitation, liberation of scavengers, social transformation of society, prevention of environmental pollution and development of non-conventional sources of energy. Recently Dr. Pathak has taken up the cause of the widows whose condition in the Indian society is as of the untouchables.

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak is the founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement in New Delhi, India.
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak is the founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement in New Delhi, India.

Q&A with Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak

What is the kindest act you’ve ever witnessed?

My mother used to give loans to the people for their work even though she did not have money of her own. She used to go to others to get money as a loan and then pass it on to the needy. My mother used to say, “Never disappoint a person if he or she comes to you for any help.” I have seen numerous acts of kindness of my mother and that is why I have transformed the lives of millions of untouchables and helped the widows of India.

What is the key to changing the world?

Love, compassion, helping and feeling for others, to view problems of others from their angle, wiping tears from their eyes and putting a smile on their faces. There are about 7 billion people in the world, half of whom are poor and marginalized and half are prosperous; if the boundaries between the nations are removed and one person helps another, the entire world will be prosperous and all will lead joyous lives.

To learn more about Sulabh, visit sulabhinternational.org

Afrika Tikkun

Afrika Tikkun aims to empower communities to develop new generations of productive citizens. Afrika Tikkun is an international NGO that provides education, health and social services to children, youth and their families through Centres of Excellence in South African Townships. These facilities act as the hubs which positively affect the lives of underprivileged children and their families. The Orange Farm (Arekopaneng Child and Youth Development Centre) provides Early Childhood Development programmes and Youth Development programmes.

Rita Mkwanazi is the general manager for Arekopaneng Child and Youth Development Centre in Orange Farm, South Africa.
Rita Mkwanazi is the general manager for Arekopaneng Child and Youth Development Centre in Orange Farm, South Africa.

Q&A with Rita Mkwanazi

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is seeing a client coming to our centre to source out information, and then leave the centre feeling very empowered far more than they have budgeted, enforcing the element of positive change even before they can start with whatever tuition they may get helped in.

What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received?

The best life advice ever given to me is to NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!!! This I have heard often and I like it for the courage it gives me.

What’s your proudest professional achievement?

My proudest achievement was to represent Afrika Tikkun (AT) to the international world on three special occasions, telling the world what AT does to effect a positive change particularly to children who are very disadvantaged, causing them to see life differently by remembering that they are children, giving and affording them that precious space to make a difference in their lives.

Learn more about Afrika Tikkun at afrikatikkun.org

UNICEF India

UNICEF was created to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. The largest UN organization in India, UNICEF India is fully committed to working with the Government of India to ensure that each child born in this vast and complex country gets the best start in life, thrives and develops to his or her full potential.  UNICEF uses its community-level knowledge to develop innovative interventions to ensure that women and children are able to access basic services such as clean water, health visitors and educational facilities, and that these services are of high quality. At the same time, UNICEF reaches out directly to families to help them to understand what they must do to ensure their children thrive.

UNICEF knows that key to addressing these challenges are its partnerships with sister UN agencies, voluntary organizations active at the community level, women’s groups and donors.  As the world’s biggest buyer and supplier of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF partners with GAVI Alliance to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in India.

Dr. Khanindra Bhuyan is a UNICEF health specialist in Mumbai, India
Dr. Khanindra Bhuyan is a UNICEF health specialist in Mumbai, India

Q&A with Dr. Khanindra Bhuyan

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

To ensure early (breastfeeding started within one hour of birth) and exclusive breastfeeding (feeding the baby with only breast milk and nothing else) for all the infants up to the age of six months.

Why did you decide to go into your line of work?

I am a passionate practitioner of public health and preventive medicine and my aim in life is to contribute to saving maximum lives with sound policy and the practice of public health. I feel privileged that I can apply some of the principles of public health and preventive medicine in my day-to-day work for advancing the rights of children to survival, development, participation and protection.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I can work with the children and women in Indian villages and try to ensure that various health services are accessed by them.

Learn more about UNICEF India at unicef.org/india

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