The judges ranged from Muhammad Ali to Ricky Martin, but the group of 13 has selected the Top 10 finalists for this year’s CNN Heroes.
Today’s selection also opens the voting for the 2010 Hero of the Year which will be announced in late November for a special to air on CNN Thanksgiving night. Now in its fourth year, CNN Heroes shines a spotlight on everyday people who are changing the world.
So who are they?
GUADALUPE ARIZPE DE LA VEGA
EL PASO, TX:
Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital in Juarez, Mexico that cares for about 900 people daily, regardless of their ability to pay. Despite the escalating violence in the city, the 74 year-old travels there several times a week to make sure residents get the care they need.
LOS ANGELES, CA:
Susan Burton was once caught in a cycle of addiction and incarceration, but she now provides sober housing and support to formerly incarcerated women in California. To date, her non-profit, A New Way of Life Reentry Project, has helped more than 400 women get back on their feet.
With her weight-loss challenge, Shape Up Vicksburg, Linda Fondren is helping her Mississippi hometown banish the bulge. Through the group’s free fitness activities and nutrition classes, residents have lost nearly 15,000 pounds to date.
Anuradha Koirala is fighting to prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of Nepal’s women and girls. Since 1993, she and her group, Maiti Nepal, have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 victims.
Narayanan Krishnan brings hot meals and dignity to India’s homeless and destitute – 365 days a year – through his nonprofit Akshaya Trust. Since 2002, he has served more than 1.2 million meals.
MAGNUS MACFARLANE – BARROW
Since 1992, Magnus MacFarlane – Barrow has dedicated his life to helping people in need. Today, his program, Mary’s Meals – run from a tin shed in the Scottish highlands – provides free daily meals to more than 40,000 children around the world.
Harmon Parker is using his masonry skills to save lives. Since 1997, he’s built 45 footbridges over Kenya’s perilous rivers, protecting people from flash floods and predatory animals. The bridges built by his organization, Bridging the Gap, also connect isolated communities with valuable resources.
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA:
Aki Ra is helping to make his native Cambodia safer by clearing land mines, many of which he planted years ago as a child soldier. Since 1993, he and his Cambodian Self Help Demining organization have cleared about 50,000 mines and unexpected weapons.
Evans Wadongo invented a way for rural families in Kenya to replace smoky kerosene and fire light with solar power. Through his Use Solar, Save Lives program, he’s distributed an estimated 10,000 solar lanterns, for free.
Since 2005, Texas home builder Dan Wallrath has given injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans homes of their own – mortgage free. He and his Operation Finally Home team have built nine new custom homes and currently have ten more planned or under construction.
- To see more and to vote, click here.