What makes a hero? Someone who walks toward a problem, not away from it. Someone who puts others before themselves even if doing so puts themselves at risk. Someone who translates their own pain or hardship into solutions and salve for others. Someone who digs deep beneath an issue to find the root cause, and who is innovative, brave and tenacious enough to dream up, and implement, solutions. Someone who takes on the hardest stuff, who doesn’t ignore the suffering in front of them, who soldiers on with few resources. Someone who goes there.
Each year, Safe celebrates a fresh crop of global heroes. This year, to highlight the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which was initiated by Rutgers University and begins on November 25, we introduce you to 16 remarkable heroes.
They live and work around the world in diverse fields and settings but are linked by a common goal: to support those at risk for, and who have suffered, violence of all kinds so that they may live healthy, comfortable lives free of fear and trauma and so others are spared similar fates. Some are survivors themselves, others, selfless supporters who saw a need and jumped in head first. They are young, and older, women and men, people who leverage their public platforms to push for policy reform. People who stir it up on social media, who let strangers into their homes, who get up from helicopter crashes and get on with it on their crutches, who keep going though they know they are on an ISIS hit list.
Collectively, their efforts offer a broad spectrum of best practices delivering powerful results. We hope you will be inspired by their stories, and their success. We hope you will consider supporting, or even better yet, emulating, their courageous, tireless, creative and world-changing work.
No list could ever encapsulate all the wonderful heroes making the world safer, especially for children. But this list introduces to you some of the brightest stars in the constellation of heroes. The heroes are listed in alphabetical order; all their stars shine equally bright.
We salute them. We hope you will, too. Consider sending them a note, or highlighting their work via your social media networks. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, connect them with other heroes you know around the world. And in this moment when the world is focusing on fighting back against gender-based violence, think about what you can do to make the world a safer place for children.