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

Kachindamoto, Theresa

When Theresa Kachindamoto became senior chief of Malawi, she determined to stop the rapes, forced marriages, and essential enslavement of young girls there. She enacted civil laws to stop the practices and worked with regional leaders to change the customs. Despite death threats, she's been able to get over 800 child marriages annulled, and the girl-brides back in school.

  • civil liberties
  • education
  • gender issues
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Malawi
Home when commended: Africa, Malawi
Home now: Africa, Malawi
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Kahn, Si

Si Kahn of Charlotte NC has dedicated his life to promoting civil rights in the poorest parts of the South. Putting his own career and personal safety aside, Kahn heads a team of skilled and experienced organizers who work with communities and organizations across the region under the auspices of Grassroots Leadership. Also a renowned singer/songwriter, Kahn's concerts promote social awareness.

  • civil liberties
  • community development
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, North Carolina
Home when commended: North America, US, North Carolina
Home now: North America, US, North Carolina
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Kaiapo, Kube-I

Kube-I Kaiapo of Para, Brazil has continually put his life at risk to speak out on behalf of his endangered people's ancient way of life. With fellow tribesman Paulino Paiakan, Kaiapo brought international attention and support to Kaiapo tribe members charged by the Brazilian government with "interfering in the country's internal affairs" because they spoke out against a dam that would flood their ancestral homelands.

  • civil liberties
  • environment
  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): South America, Brazil; North America, US, Florida; Washington DC
Home when commended: South America, Brazil
Home now: South America, Brazil
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Kakar, Tajwar

Through decades of violent turmoil, Tajwar Kakar has been fighting for the freedom of Afghanistan and for the rights of its women. Kakar has faced death threats to advocate for the education of young women so they can take part in the rebuilding of their country.

  • civil liberties
  • education
  • womens issues
Giraffe work location(s): Asia, Pakistan
Home when commended: Asia, Pakistan
Home now: Asia, Pakistan
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Kaleeba, Noerine

Noerine Kaleeba of Kampala, Uganda, was one of 15 founders of TASO (The AIDS Support Organization). Twelve others, including her husband, have died. A physical therapist, Kaleeba spearheaded TASO's mission: stop the shunning and stigmatization of people with HIV and AIDS in Uganda, where 30% of the population is infected. Under her direction, TASO gives 23,000 families support services, using drama, dance and song to educate the public about the disease.

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

Kamkwamba, William

When William Kamkwamba was 14 he had to drop out of his school in Malawi for lack of tuition money. His family and his village were on the edge of starvation. Using books from a free library he figured out how to build windmills and water pumps out of scrap metal and junk parts. His village could run lights and sewing machines and irrigate crops, changing life for the villagers who once scoffed at the strange contraptions the boy was building.

  • community development
  • education
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Malawi
Home when commended: Africa, Malawi
Home now: Africa, Malawi
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Kantor, Linda

Linda Kantor of New Haven CT protected a HUD housing project from addicts and thieves by buying the abandoned building across the street and turning it into a cultural center. She volunteered full time at the center, ignoring threats and hazards, to distribute food, clothing, toys, and plants to center clients, homeless shelters and to daycare centers.
  • community development
  • substance abuse
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Connecticut
Home when commended: North America, US, Connecticut
Home now: North America, US, Connecticut
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Kaplan, Bryan

Bryan Kaplan of Manlius NY has raised more money to buy open space lands than any other volunteer in the history of an annual fundraiser for a local land trust. He started when he was eight years old. Continuing to volunteer as a teenager, he spends long hours canvassing for sponsors before each year's walk, braving nasty weather, unfriendly dogs and people, and giving up long hours of free time.
  • environment
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.

Katsuyama, Brad

Brad Katsuyama, a trader at a Canadian bank's New York office, figured out that some traders had devised a system that used mega-speed computers to give them an unbeatable advantage over investors who weren’t in on it. Rather than using his discovery to his own personal and professional advantage, Katsuyama took evidence of the rigged system to investors, left his own high-paying job, and created a new stock market that gives all investors a level playing field. The bankers who were reaping vast fortunes from the secret system began defaming him the minute he revealed what they were doing, and they havent stopped.
  • business/workplace issues
  • whistle blowers
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.

Katz, Deb

Appalled by dangerous corporate operations of New England nuclear power plants, Deb Katz of Shelburne Falls MA gave up her private practice as a psychotherapist to found the Citizens Awareness Network, which spreads the word about the unreliability of old facilities, owners' hazardous operating procedures, massive abuse of public funds and the dumping of radioactive waste in poor, rural communities.

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

Kaufman, Hugh

Hugh Kaufman of Washington DC, once the Environmental Protection Agency's chief hazardous waste investigator, has continually blown the whistle on the agency's mishandling of environmental issues. The EPA moved him to a dead-end job, but Kauffman continues to battle against polluters, helping private citizens protect the environment.

  • environment
  • government
  • 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.

Kaufman, Jackie

Jackie Kaufman and Randi Hacker of Montgomery VT left their lives as writers in New York City to start an environmental-action magazine for kids. Kaufman and Hacker maxed out their personal credit cards, and went three years without salaries, supporting themselves with other freelance work.
  • environment
  • media issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Vermont
Home when commended: North America, US, Vermont
Home now: North America, US, Vermont
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Kaur Khalsa, Snatam

Snatam Kaur Khalsa of Mill Valley, California. is a founding member of “Creating our Future” and a community organizer whose goal is to change the world. She works for a clean environment, peace, justice, and an end to world hunger. Among her many accomplishments, Snatam organized “Awareness Weeks” at her high school to inform and inspire her fellow students on subjects such as recycling, hunger, rain forests, and racism. Snatam also writes and performs music about social change.

  • environment
  • international peace
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, Oregon
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Kavanaugh, Judith

Doctor Jerry Barbosa risked his medical career to provide professional services and personal support to three hemophiliac boys in the Ray family, after all three became HIV-positive from transfusions. Attorney Judith Kavanaugh represented the Ray family at no cost to prevent the children from being kept out of school. Both Barbosa and Kavanaugh supported the family for years despite public censure and medical and legal obstacles.

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

Kawarach, Rose

The Mpolyagiere Foundation’s outreach team--Rose Kawarach, Mary Kyabanagwe, Enoch Magala, Ritah Nassuuna, Dylan Patterson, Bashir Wadeya, and Ronnie Wandera--have worked round the clock in dangerous rural Ugandan villages to launch a community-based campaign to stop the spread of AIDS/HIV. All the Ugandan team members are college grads, choosing to do this work rather than taking their degrees into safe, well-paying city jobs. Dylan Patterson, an undergrad in the US, has served with them, using his savings from summer jobs to get there and help pay for supplies.

  • community development
  • health/public health/disabilities
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Uganda
Home when commended: Africa, Uganda
Home now: Africa, Uganda, North America, USA
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Keegan, Tom

Merchant marine captain Tom Keegan of Ontario CA, paralyzed from the waist down after being hit by a drunken driver, invested his savings and all his time in renovating a tuna clipper into a seagoing clinic that will take medical volunteers to coastal cities in poor countries.
  • health/public health/disabilities
  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.
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