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  • Disability rights

  • Tanni Grey-Thompson: Britain's Greatest Paralympic Athlete

    Meet GameChangers competition judge Tanni Grey-Thompson, Britain's greatest ever paralympic athlete and one of the most gifted and courageous sportswomen of her generation. In this video, Grey-Thompson—who broke 35 world records as a wheelchair athlete—says being born with spina bifida "didn't really play a big part in my life."

  • Kickstarting Social Change Through Football in Brazil and Argentina

    New leaders are emerging in the soccer world of Brazil and Argentina who use football as a catalyst for social change and development. They parallel the achievements of Brazil's Seleção and La Albiceleste of Argentina—two of the most decorated teams in football history that have been represented over the years by some of the most dynamic and celebrated players ever to have worn their countries' colors.

    During the 2010 World Cup In South Africa, Brazil and Argentina hired Dunga and Diego Maradona, respectively, to manage their national teams. Despite their limited coaching experience, both managed to silence critics with successes on the pitch. Brazil entered the World Cup as the top ranked team and Argentina seemed to have found its form at just the right time.

    Soccer Tournament for Ending Gender Based Violence and Futbol Para Pensar are entries in Changing Lives Through Football, Changemakers and Nike's collaborative competition for using football to create social change. Finalists will be announced and voting begins on July 27, 2010. Winners are eligible to win a total of US $90,000 in prizes.
  • Difference Makes us Attractive

    Bea Pellizzari was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.

    Bea Pellizzari
    has dedicated 18 years of her life to transforming the public image of people with disabilities. She founded La Usina in 2002 on the principle that diversity yields collective enrichment.

    La Usina integrates people who have physical and mental disabilities into the labor force by using a model based on market principles and professional standards, without resorting to quotas or preferential treatment. Pellizzari recognizes that finding a job is not simply a matter of charity, but is the result of making a strong match between workers’ skills and employers’ needs.

    Four years ago, she created a very successful social business called redACTIVOS that promotes and distributes several products and services created by people with disabilities. In addition to generating income for La Usina, this social business has been able to connect a network of very important Argentinean and international companies that buy the products and services made by a network of people with disabilities.

    In this short video, Pellizzari briefly describes her journey along the path of social entrepreneurship, and how entrepreneurial activities, joy, and happiness go hand-in-hand.

  • Making Every Business an “Ability” Company

    Caroline Casey was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.

    Sushmita Ghosh, member of Ashoka's Leadership Team and founder of Changemakers, sat down with Caroline Casey (pictured above), Ashoka Globalizer Fellow and founding CEO of Kanchi and the O2 Ability Awards.

    Kanchi is a not-for-profit organization that works to change thinking about disability. Kanchi promotes the ability and value of every person with a disability and challenges traditional stereotypes through innovative initiatives aimed at a wide range of stakeholders. Kanchi works with leaders in business, government, and the media to accelerate change.


    Ghosh: When was your "ah-ha" moment when you realized that your idea could be realized on a larger scale?

    Casey: I actually had a few “ah-ha” moments throughout the history of Kanchi. The first time was in 2004 while creating the first Irish Ability Awards—I knew instinctually that this idea could be replicated in any country if we got the model right, like the ISO model.

    The second was in 2007, when Telefónica came to Ireland to see the 02 Ability Awards. After hearing about our activities, they had sent very high-level people to witness the final stage of the Ability Awards Program - the gala ceremony. Within minutes of the ceremony ending, they asked me whether they could take the Ability Awards to Spain.

    The third moment was January 17, during the first complete cycle of those Ability Awards in Spain, when the president of Telefónica announced his plan to take the Ability Awards to five countries in five years in front of an extremely influential audience, including the Queen of Spain.  It was at that moment that the dream I had back in 2004 began to become a reality.

  • From “Garbage Collectors” to Micro Entrepreneurs

    Interview by Lorena López, Ashoka Changemakers

    Albina Ruiz, founder of, created a system of micro businesses that are dedicated to collecting and processing urban waste, promoting cleaner and healthier cities in Peru. Perhaps their most important success has been dignifying the job of garbage collectors, who have been included in a formal and decent employment system with social and pension payments. Here, Albina shares her entrepreneurial experience and she has succeeded in improving the living standards for many people.

    What are three strengths that make a change agent successful? Perseverance, ethics, and a certain dose of craziness. And above all, you must love what you do, because you need to be a little crazy and truly love what you do in order to achieve changes within the system.