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    10 Human Rights Activists Who Made 2013 A Better Year For Humanity

    Our beloved Nelson Mandela once said that, “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination.” As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Human Rights Day today, let’s celebrate 10 individuals around the world who are living by Mandela's words and helped make 2013 a better year for humanity.

    1. Dr. Denis Mukwege, Congo

    Via AP

    He started a clinic for women who have been gang-raped by rebels in Congo’s conflict regions. Despite serious threats to his life, Dr. Mukwege continues to provide his services to Congolese women and has helped treat over 30,000 rape victims. He was nominated this year for a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work.

    2. Sam Okello, Uganda

    Via Cindi Ord/Getty Images North America

    After his brother was killed by the LRA, the former child soldier founded Hope North, a foundation that provides education (formal and informal) to child victims of war. Over 1,500 vulnerable youth have lived at Hope North, and today 255 incredible youth are working towards their degrees and planning careers.

    3. Yash Gupta, U.S.

    Via CNN

    At just 17 years old, Yash started Sight Learning, a non-profit organization that provides corrective eyeglasses to children in Mexico, Honduras, Haiti and India. Gupta has collected and donated close to 10,000 pairs of glasses to those in need.

    4. Zuriel Oduwole, Nigeria

    View this video on YouTube

    She’s just 11 years old, but she’s interviewed Venus and Serena Williams, Africa’s richest person, Aliko Dangote, and eight African presidents including President Joyce Banda of Malawi. The budding documentary filmmaker is the youngest person to be interviewed by Forbes Magazine, and some call her the next Oprah Winfrey.

    5. Michael Mino, Ghana

    Via Ghana ED21

    Mino aims to shrink the learning gap between school children in Ghana and the rest of the world through technology and hands-on training for educators and students.

    After decades of work with public and private partners like Google and IBM to improve the quality of education in the US and South America, Mino founded GHANA ED21 in 2013 to help eliminate barriers to quality education for children.

    6. Ali Abdulemam, Bahrain

    Via The Atlantic

    When he isn’t working, former IT specialist Ali Abdulemam spends his time writing blogs critiquing the ruling family of Bahrain, and their history of discrimination against the Shia majority.

    His independent journalism has won him numerous awards, but oftentimes at the expense of his life and freedom. After a warrant was issued for his arrest during the 2011 popular uprising in Bahrain, Abdulemam spent over a year in hiding before he was smuggled out of the country and sought asylum in the UK in 2013.

    7. Mi Kun Chan Non, Myanmar (Burma)

    View this video on YouTube

    Over the last ten years, Mi Kun has worked with marginalized Mon women in Myanmar (Burma) to empower them with the skills necessary for active engagement in government and public life. Mi Kun is the vice chairwoman of the Mon Women’s Organization (MWO) and she is also an active participant in this year’s U.N. 16 Days of Activism.

    8. Flavio Wittlin and Helena Bastos, Brazil

    Via Viramundo

    Based on the principles of community self-help, Dr. Flavio Wittlin and Helena Bastos introduced the Viramundo Program to help tackle poverty and disease in Brazil. Through their popular radio program, they engage local communities in a serious conversation on how citizens can actively participate in the fight against poor housing and health conditions in their local communities.

    9. Sam Ganafa, Uganda


    He fights for gay rights in Uganda, in one of the most harshly discriminated LGBT communities in the world. Despite that he has been arrested and detained without charge, had his home raided, and was forced to take an HIV test, he keeps fighting for LGBT rights as the executive director of Spectrum Uganda.

    10. Fidel Bafilemba, Congo

    Via Enough Project

    He has worked diligently to educate the Congolese people about democracy, and what it means to be a part of the democratic process. His work with the Enough Project as a field researcher helps to bring the stories of Congo to new audiences, and to advocate for lasting peace in Congo.

    This post is brought to you by the Enough Project. Take action against crimes against humanity. Follow the Enough Project on Twitter and Facebook.

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