Giraffe Heroes Database
Letter "A"
Entries beginning with "A"

Abdi, Hawa

As civil war has raged in Somalia, a gynecologist named Hawa Abdi has turned a one-room clinic on her family’s farm into a full-scale hospital and has converted her large farm into a haven for 90,000 displaced Somalis, most of them women and children. Dr. Abdi has withstood threats from armed militiamen and a devastating famine to keep this safe haven operating.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • poverty
  • public safety
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Somalia
Home when commended: Africa, Somalia
Home now: Africa, Somalia
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Abed, Fazle

Fazle Abed of Dhaka, Bangladesh left a well-paying job to start and run a non-governmental effort to aid Bangladeshis who were suffering from the devastation of war and desperate poverty. In the decades since, his nonprofit, BRAC, has served more than 110 million people.

  • community development
  • education
  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): Asia, Bangladesh
Home when commended: Asia, Bangladesh
Home now: Asia, Bangladesh
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Abraham, Alexander

Alexander Abraham of New York NY and his daughter Nancy Abraham put their own time, money and connections on the line to create more than a hundred units of safe, affordable housing for the city's needy, in less than four years. Their transitional housing for women provides residents with job counseling, child care and tutoring.

  • community development
  • poverty
  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New York
Home when commended: North America, US, New York
Home now: North America, US, New York
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Abraham, Nancy

Nancy Abraham of New York NY and her father, Alexander Abraham, put their own time, money, and connections on the line to create--in less than four years--more than 100 units of safe, transitional housing for formerly homeless women, providing them with job counseling, child care and tutoring as well as shelter.

  • community development
  • poverty
  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New York
Home when commended: North America, US, New York
Home now: North America, US, New York
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Abu-Taha, Ali

Ali AbuTaha of Herndon VA is an aerospace engineer who challenged NASA's findings on space shuttle safety, devoting two years of his life and all his savings to making his own report on the Challenger disaster. Aeronautics experts across the country studied AbuTaha's findings and decided he was onto something, but he was blackballed in the space industry. His finding were finally adopted by NASA, without credit to him
  • government
  • public safety
  • whistle blowers
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Washington DC
Home when commended: North America, US, Washington DC
Home now: North America, US, Washington DC
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Acheson, Sarah

Sarah Acheson of Seattle WA started volunteering at an AIDS hospice when she was eight years old, making drawings for the walls, making friends, and fundraising for the hospice with a lemonade stand in her neighborhood. Despite the prevailing fears of the time, she overcame other kids' criticism and fear to enlist them in helping out too.
  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Washington
Home when commended: North America, US, Washington
Home now: North America, US, Washington
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Adam, Allan

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) in Alberta, Canada, is spending time, energy, and money to protect his people’s land from encroaching industry. He has challenged Alberta’s government, he has taken his case to the courts, and he has rallied thousands of others to the cause.

  • environment
  • ethnicity/minorities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, Canada, Alberta
Home when commended: North America, Canada, Alberta
Home now: North America, Canada, Alberta
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Adams, Isabelle

While other kids their ages are playing, Katherine, 6 and Isabelle Adams, 9, are making origami ornaments that they sell to fund clean-water projects in poverty-stricken villages around the world. The girls have raised over $100,000 for new wells.

  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, USA, Texas
Home now: North America, USA, Texas
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Adams, Katherine

While other kids their ages are playing, Katherine, 6 and Isabelle Adams, 9, are making origami ornaments that they sell to fund clean-water projects in poverty-stricken villages around the world. The girls have raised over $100,000 for new wells.

  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, USA, Texas
Home now: North America, USA, Texas
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Adams, Patch

Patch Adams of Arlington VA founded the Gesundheit Institute, a free medical clinic that he supported by working night shifts at a mental hospital. Known as the "Clown Prince of Medicine," Adams does a traveling "medicine show" using humor to teach the public about health, and doctors about getting back to the love of healing.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Virginia, W. Virginia
Home when commended: North America, US, Virginia
Home now: North America, US, Virginia
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Addison, Wendy

Wendy Addison blew the whistle on fraudulent tax moves at the South African company where she was treasurer. Exposed as the truth-teller, she was fired, threatened, and got no government protection. She fled to England with her young son but was known there for the uproar about her whistleblowing in South Africa and therefore unemployable. She was reduced to begging on the streets. Addison is now employed at Surrey University, researching whistleblowing; she also runs an organization that educates people all over the world about whistleblowing.

  • whistle blowers
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, South Africa
Home when commended: Europe, England
Home now: Europe, England
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Adreon, Travis

Travis Adreon, a student and former addict, went public about his own past and made himself available 24 hours a day to anyone with a substance abuse problem. Adreon's openness cost him friends from both his athletic and his drug-using days.

  • substance abuse
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Washington
Home when commended: North America, US, Washington
Home now: North America, US, Washington
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Aggeler, Marti

Marti Aggeler, Julie DeRossi and Tolbert McCarroll of Santa Rosa CA, all members of the Starcross Community, endured community ostracism to care for AIDS babies. They have been foster parents to unwanted children for years. The Starcross Community is also involved in advocacy work for children with AIDS, street outreach for high-risk women, and care of HIV-positive orphans in Romania.

  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Aggeler, Marti

Marti Aggeler, Julie DeRossi and Tolbert McCarroll of Santa Rosa CA, all members of the Starcross Community, endured community ostracism to care for AIDS babies. They have been foster parents to unwanted children for years. The Starcross Community is also involved in advocacy work for children with AIDS, street outreach for high-risk women, and care of HIV-positive orphans in Romania.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • youth issues

Home when commended: California
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

AIDS Project Los Angeles

Nancy Cole Sawaya, Matt Redman, Ervin Munro, and Max Drew started a movement at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic that gathered in over a thousand volunteers to provide food, shelter, counseling and emotional support to hundreds of people with AIDS in their city, Los Angeles. The Giraffe Project commended every volunteer of AIDS Project Los Angeles in that time when no one was sure how AIDS was spread and there were no drugs that could save stricken peoples' lives.

  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: G (group)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Air LifeLine

In 1978, Tom Goodwin, a businessman out of Sacramento, California, started Air LifeLine, a collection of pilots who transport low-income patients to places where they can access emergency medical care. Air LifeLine doesn’t charge anything for the service; all expenses are covered by the pilots themselves and by donations.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, national
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: G (group)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.
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