A Scotsman providing free daily meals to 400,000 children, a former child soldier clearing land mines in Cambodia and a Texas builder giving injured vets mortgage-free homes are among the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010.
This year marks CNN’s fourth annual global search for everyday individuals changing the world. Since January, the network has aired weekly profiles of the Heroes, chosen from more than 10,000 nominations submitted by viewers in 100 countries. The top 10 — remarkable individuals chosen for their sacrifices and accomplishments — were revealed by CNN on Thursday.
A panel comprised of luminaries recognized for their own dedication to public service selected this year’s top 10 CNN Heroes. The blue ribbon panel includes humanitarians, activists and philanthropists such as Muhammad Ali, Sir Richard Branson and Yo-Yo Ma.
In addition to the $25,000, each of this year’s finalists will be honored at a televised gala, the CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute, airing on Thanksgiving night, November 25.
The global broadcast, with Anderson Cooper as the host, will culminate with the announcement of the CNN Hero of the Year, selected by the public in an online poll that began Thursday. The individual receiving the most votes will receive an additional $100,000.
Here are the top 10 Heroes of 2010:
– 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. Watch the video or read about Guadalupe.
– Susan Burton was once caught in a cycle of addiction and incarceration. Today, her nonprofit A New Way of Life Reentry Project provides sober housing and other support services to formerly incarcerated women in California. Watch video or read about Susan.
– With her weight-loss challenge, Shape Up Vicksburg, Linda Fondren is helping her Mississippi hometown battle the bulge. Through free fitness activities and nutrition classes, residents have lost nearly 15,000 pounds to date. Watch video or read about Linda.
– 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. Watch video or read about Anuradha.
– Narayanan Krishnan brings hot meals and dignity to India’s homeless and destitute — 365 days per year — through his nonprofit Akshaya Trust. Since 2002, he has served more than 1.2 million meals. Learn more about Narayanan here, on Good News Network.
– 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 400,000 children around the world. Learn more about Magnus here, on Good News Network.
– Harmon Parker is using his masonry skills to save lives. Since 1997 he has helped build 45 footbridges over perilous rivers in Kenya, protecting people from flash floods and predatory animals. The bridges also connect isolated villagers to valuable resources. Learn more about Harmon here, on Good News Network.
– 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 unexploded weapons. Watch video or read about Aki Ra.
– Wadongo, 23, invented a way for rural families in Kenya to replace smoky kerosene and firelight with solar power. Through his Use Solar, Save Lives program, he’s distributed an estimated 10,000 solar lanterns for free. Watch the video or read about Evans.
– 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 five new custom homes under construction. Learn more about Dan here, on the Good News Network.
Viewers can go to CNNHeroes.com to participate in the poll, which continues through November 18.