You can be the first person on your block to know who the new Giraffe Heroes are. Just subscribe to Heads Up, our only-when-it-matters emails. (We don’t sell or even lend our subscribers’ addresses to anyone. Ever.)
If you could do just about anything you wanted to do, would you choose to assist the people of Haiti in achieving their dreams? That's what John Engle decided to do in 1991, and he's been on the job ever since.
It hasn't been easy. There's been a military coup, a dictatorship, public...more
When she was fresh out of law school, Canadian Alayne Fleischmann got a really prestigious job, one that looked like the first step in a successful career. She was hired by a multi-billion-dollar, multi-national bank to analyze acquisitions and make sure they were high-quality.
This is Sister Megan Rice, a nun for most of her 80+ years and a peace activist since the 1980s. She had been arrested more than three dozen times and had done time twice when she and two other peace activists performed what was called the most serious security breach in the history of US...more
Imagine you're 11 years old and your body is twisting from scoliosis, causing you constant physical pain and making you look very different from other kids. You're scheduled for surgery to straighten your spine and your mom takes a "before" picture so you'll have a history of how you once...more
You get on a plane, settle in for a long trip, and assume that one of your fellow passengers is an on-duty, well-trained TSA air marshal who would know what to do if somebody tried to high-jack the plane.
Robert MacLean was one of those marshals and he took his job so seriously he...more
This is Catherine Hamlin MD, who left her home in Australia in 1959 to provide gynecological care to poor women in Ethiopia. At 90, she's still doing that, focusing on one of the most distressing medical/social issues imaginable: obstetric fistulas.
This is an injury that women can...more
Dr. Musharraf Hussain O.B.E., founder of the Karimia Institute, president of the the UK's Christian-Muslim Forum and Trustee of the National Centre for Citizenship talks with Giraffe's John Graham about the launch later this year of Giraffes/UK. They're shown here in the studio of Dawn Radio,...more
Imagine you're a Canadian research biologist, retired after a long career of creating new agricultural products and telling people about the fine potatoes and apples you've engineered. You're enjoying life on your farm in British Columbia when you begin reading research studies from Europe...more
When Muriel Johnston retired from her job as an office manager, she applied for a Peace Corps posting. Other retirees apply, but Johnston was 84 at the time. She was accepted into the Corps and headed off to Morocco, working for two years as a health and hygiene educator in a remote and...more
Ron Finley is a fashion designer who lives in a part of Los Angeles described as a "food desert" for want of access to fresh produce. Finley eyed the barren traffic median in front of his house and what he saw was 10 by 150 feet of potential vegetable garden. He started digging, planting...more
Kit Foshee is the reason you know about "pink slime," the ammonia-filled gunk that some meat processors have been adding to ground meats. Foshee had a six-figure job as a quality control inspector at a meat processing company that was telling its customers that the ammoniated slime made their...more
Paul Holton has served in Iraq again and again. First as a U.S. Army interrogator in the 1990s, then his Utah National Guard unit was deployed to Iraq in 2003. Now he goes back time after time, on his own, as a bearer of gifts--school supplies, toys, clothes, whatever he learns that Iraqi...more
Isabelle and Katherine Adams are working in the playtime of others their ages--Isabelle is 9, Katherine is 6 (making her the youngest Giraffe ever). They're making and selling origami to pay for clean water wells around the world. These two tiny people have raised over $100,000 for that vital...more
And now the oldest Giraffe commendee ever, Nicholas Winton. In 1939, the then young Brit identified Jewish kids in Czechoslovakia who were in danger of going to death camps. He forged documents, raised money, recruited British families to take the kids in, and got 669 of them on boats to...more
Farai Maguwu is telling the world that the miners in the diamond fields of Zimbabwe are being abused. He's also demanding loudly that the profits from the mines be used to benefit the people of that nation rather than disappearing into unseen hands. He's been imprisoned and he's watched...more
Nancy Rivard gave up a fast-track management job at an airline to sign on as a flight attendant so she could see first-hand what the needs are of people around the world. From her first "mission" of hand-delivering soaps to Bosnian refugees, she's grown an organization, Airline Ambassadors,...more
Mara Leigh Taylor's life is about America's many thousands of prisoners, about seeing that they get a restart on lives that have gone so badly. Volunteer Taylor goes into prisons to coach inmates in wise decision-making, giving them a new sense of themselves and the lives they can lead when they...more
Former Navy Seal Eric Greitens used his combat pay and invested almost every waking hour in establishing The Mission Continues, a nonprofit that matches US veterans still eager to serve, with communities that can use their devotion and skills. Greitens speaks out nation-wide, reminding all...more
Thirty years ago American film-maker John Dennis Liu went to Beijing to open a news bureau for CBS. He's stayed on, living in a house his father built before emigrating to the US. But Liu is rarely home. Most of the time he's on the road, from North Korea to Mali to Ecuador, making and showing...more
Retired coach Duke Oxford and his wife Toni Oxford could be tending to Duke's new work of selling artificial turf or maybe even taking some time to just enjoy themselves. Instead, they've created "Mel's Diner" (the name taken from the old TV series, "Alice.") This diner's now a mobile unit,...more
Seattle college student Dylan Patterson headed to Uganda as a volunteer, hoping to Dylan & passing wildlife help somehow. He met Enoch Magala in Enoch Magala Kampala and the young American's course was set. Magala and a field team of young Ugandans at the Mpolyabigere Foundation are...more
When he finished college, Bunker Roy was positioned to live a life of ease and privilege in urban Indian society. To his family's dismay, he chose instead to go live in an impoverished village "for a while." He's never left. Amazed and impressed by the skills and character of the often...more
An obstetrician/gynecologist, Hawa Abdi gave up the security of a staff job in a big hospital to open a small clinic for women on her wealthy family's 1,300-acre farm near Mogadishu. When her country fell into chaos, she saw that women needed more than medical care; they and their children...more
"You can't run from the wind.
You trim your sails, face the music, and keep going."
Those wise words were written by screenwriter Todd Robinson for the film White Squall. We know there's a lot of sail-trimming going on these days and we're pleased that we've completed that...more
New Giraffe Heroes ~ November 2010
Taking them in alphabetical order, we start with Mary Balikungeri.
When her home country, Rwanda, was deep in a terrifyingly violent civil war, Balikungeri, a widow with two small children, was living safely in her adopted country, Switzerland. She...more
We figure we can have any needed meetings in a coffeehouse near the old office. It's cozy and the espressos are great. (With my computer and files moved home already, I gotta say I like being able to contact you while wearing an old sweatshirt. You didn't know, did you?)
A crucial factor...more
A Nantucket Giraffe
The tiny island of Nantucket, Massachusetts is proud of its history. And well it should be. Mostly.
Nantucket teacher Barbara Linebaugh White discovered, when doing research for her master's degree, that the island's history was a bit more complicated than the...more
You're a high school senior in Appleton, Wisconsin and you decide to doyour senior thesis on global poverty. You can read some websites, maybe a couple of books, write it up and you're done, right? Not if you're Oliver Zornow. He decided to go see what was behind the stats, in one of the poorest...more
I just returned from keynoting a conference in Singapore and I have to tell you about that. I'm full of fan palms and orchids, equatorial breezes and bougainvillea, ripe papayas and cracked crabs ~ and the faces and voices of conferees and fellow speakers from India, the Philippines, Malaysia,...more
I'm on your screen now to remind you that you're almost out of time in 2009 to make a gift to Giraffe and support that work.
The Giraffe curriculum helps students in classrooms all over the country look at their communities with new eyes, see problems that need to be addressed, and figure...more
They're so recently chosen by our volunteer jury, we don't have their stories on our new website yet. But the links here will take you to more information about each of them.
Sarah Cambers, Sabrina Coons, Jessica Shelton & Megan Stewart
for creating & sustaining the...more
No matter where you live in the world, you're probably taking in the news of enormous disruptions in "normal" daily life. You may be experiencing the changes personally; if you aren't, you certainly know someone who is.
Most of us have cut back from whatever level of expenditures we'd...more
A fanfare here, a blast of trumpets! The online database we've been working on has gone live. When you click on the Giraffes' names below, you'll be instantly transported into said database, where you'll be looking at the reasons that Giraffe was commended. The database is in beta formwe're...more
"People become the stories they hear
and the stories they tell."
I find that I'm getting stories stuck in my head that are profoundly pissing me offstories about people whose greed and self-involvement have dropped-kicked the whole world into this enormous economic...more
I don't know about you but I'm gravitating to every glimmer of goodness I can find these days. The news provides a few bright spots new initiatives from the White House, stories of people taking in neighbors who've lost their houses, reports of business executives actually cutting their own...more