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On October 11, the world observed the International Day of Girls: a day dedicated to raising awareness of the serious issues facing the world's 1.1 billion girls, and promoting their empowerment. It's an enormous issue–one that requires our attention far beyond that single day.

Each year, about 246 million children are harassed and abused either at or on their way to school. Girls are disproportionately affected, a reality that curbs their academic lives and makes it more likely they will drop out. But things are slowly changing: fully twenty-five million child marriages have been prevented, just in the past ten years.

These two things–ending child marriage, and working to make sur...

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Opportunities for education in many areas of sub-Saharan Africa are scarce, and more than one-fifth of primary-school-age kids do not attend school throughout the region. Not content to sit on the sidelines, an organization called Street Child is acting to provide solutions for sub-Saharan children.

And they haven't been slow to the task. In the last decade, the org has helped to educate more than 250,000 children, and helped over 25,000 families start their own businesses. Now they've even enlisted the help of the royal family: Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, became a Patron Ambassador of Street Child when the organization joined forces with Children in Crisis.

For more about this impres...

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In a nation of just under 50 million, fully 3 million Kenyan kids are classified as orphans, and many of those are street children. It's a crisis of daunting proportions–but one crafty and compassionate organization has struck on what may be the perfect solution.

The people who run Agape Children’s Ministry started with one fundamental observation: the majority of Kenyan orphans actually have living relatives. Armed with that insight, the org's mission became to reunite as many of those kids with their families as possible. To date they have helped over 2,300 kids rejoin their families, and they've begun sharing their model with other outfits that hope to employ it elsewhere.

To he...

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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.

Fortune is fickle however, and Fabiola received $29,000 on her 18th birthday as part of an injury settlement. But when the young student started to thinking of how to spend the money, she realized it shouldn't be on herself. Fabiola set up a scholarship program instead, naming it after her mother: the Ruelas Family Scholarship. Once Fabiola had ironed out the details, applications poured in, and Fabiola awarded her first scholarships to four student...

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When Annabelle Gurwitch decided to open her house to a homeless couple as part of her work with Safe Place for Youth, she didn't know what to expect. The author had been intrigued when she initially heard about their Host Home Program, which focuses on providing short-term “interventions” for young homeless adults. Wanting to "walk the walk" of her principles, she took the plunge--and the reality of opening her living space to strangers was both enervating and eye-opening.

In the end, Gurwitch's experience was an overwhelmingly positive one. And the Host Home model has shown great promise, both for curbing youth homelessness and changing public attitudes about the problem. And ...

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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.

Two years ago, the couple decided to move their daughters from the mostly white, affluent school they had been attending to a more diverse school in East Austin. It's a higher poverty district, and the new school doesn't have the same resources as the other school. But since learning about the history of segregation in Austin, Takata feels they made the right choice.

“I felt like I was...

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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.

According to UNESCO, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion in all of Africa; over one-fifth of children between the ages of 6 and 11 do not attend school. And Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School, where Tabichi works, has all the typical problems afflicting schools in the region.

But Tabichi's love for his students, and for science itself, leaves him undaunted by the...

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Though difficult for most of us to even imagine, it's a reality for tens of millions of impoverished kids around the world: living every day without shoes on your feet. In India, it's shockingly common to see shoeless infants and toddlers, an obvious health risk that can lead to infections like hookworm and even elephantiasis.

Shoes should never be a luxury, and two young athletes living in Mumbai have decided to do something about it. Their company Green Sole converts old shoes into new footwear, and distributes it to Indian schoolchildren. And they're not alone: an entire category of companies in India has sprung up around repurposing old materials into new products.

To read more about Green...

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When Mohan Sudabattula was volunteering in the prosthetic department of a Utah hospital, he noticed that medical rehab equipment like crutches and wheelchairs tended to have a short life: that is, it was typically used by one person, then thrown away.

This experience became the impetus behind Project Embrace, Sudabattula's nonprofit organization. Today, the 23-year-old student and his team of volunteers scour the shelves of thrift stores and other sources, and receive personal donations from the community. They refurbish the gear, then send it to medical facilities around the world where it can be used again.

To hear more about this remarkable young world-changer, read the feature article.

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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.

But to Myanmar entrepreneur Mike Than Tun Win, it was a problem with a simple solution. Why not distribute the bikes to poor kids in outlying villages so they could bike back and forth to school?

“It’s a common sight to see lines and lines of students walking long distances from home to school in rural villages,” Than told TechCrunch. “Some students can walk up to one hour from home to school....a school bus is almost unheard of to the students in rural villages.”...

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