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Unless you work in the world of NGOs, you've probably never heard of Bangladesh's BRAC. But don't let that mislead you: the organization has close to 100,000 full-time staff, 8,000 working outside of of their home country. And in the last year alone, BRAC worked to educate more than a million children, and lent money to nearly eight million striving people.

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As a youngster growing up in California's Salinas Valley, Fabiola Moreno Ruelas dealt with more than her share of hardship. She saw her father deported, and her family routinely struggled with housing and basic needs, at one point facing eviction.

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When Ali Takata and her husband moved to Austin from the San Francisco Bay Area three and a half years ago, she was immediately struck by the lack of diversity. "I was surprised by how white Austin felt," she says. But Takata soon realized that Austin wasn't particularly white--it was just very segregated.

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Here at Billions Rising we have always emphasized self-reliance, and solutions that empower those in poverty to better themselves and their communities. One organization that is doing great work in this area is Street Business School, a non-profit that works with other orgs to provide next-level entrepreneurial training for women.

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When she was just a second grader, Nujoud Merancy visited an air traffic control tower on a school field trip, an event that kindled the young girl's interest in aerospace; later, she was inspired by the Apollo missions. And incredibly, today she is working on an enormous mission of her own: sending the first woman to the moon by 2024.

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Peter Tabichi teaches science to schoolchildren in Keriko, Kenya, a region frequently blighted by drought and famine. His students come from very poor families, many having to go without adequate food at home. It's an often bleak landscape, and drug abuse, early school dropout and suicide are all too common.

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Last year, bicycle-sharing startup oBike ceased operations in Singapore, leaving the city with an inconvenient parting gift: thousands of abandoned bicycles, left behind in parks and other public spaces.

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Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Aisha Bowe was the child of divorce, and dealt with many of the issues that come with the territory. She had a lack of self-esteem and scholastic problems that led to less-than-stellar grades, excluding her from consideration at a top school. But she soldiered on at community college, and there she met a teacher who challenged her to reconsider her gifts.

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Growing up as one of six children in a single-parent household in Myanmar, Ma Khin learned a thing or two about poverty. So when she decided to open a restaurant that trains homeless street kids to be chefs and waiters, she knew she would be throwing herself into a tricky role. “The children on the streets have psychological issues,” the former tour guide says. “Sometimes we have children with criminal records. Sometimes we have thieves....on the streets, they steal in order to fill their stomachs.”

Still, Ma Khin's premise was sound; the restaurant, named LinkAge, has persevered. And Ma Khin is just one of twenty entrepreneurs being celebrated for working to uplift Asian communities, by Channel NewsAsia’s Ch...

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In 2014, Subhajit Roy and Gargi Mazumdar competed in the Global Learning XPRIZE competition to promote learning using technology. They were shortlisted, and after the competition, they decided to quit their full-time jobs to create an enterprise version of their software that would benefit underprivileged students in rural India.

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