Maria Maneos - Brush With The Law
Maria’s background in the Fine Arts inspired her to make a difference in the lives of prison inmates. Through her program, Brush With The Law, she employs innovative art therapy techniques to provide inmates with the rehabilitative lessons and life skills characteristically lacking in the contemporary prison-industrial complex.
Maria currently serves the female inmate population at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania with weekly art classes that incorporate critical thinking, mindfulness, professional development and transitional skills. Maria’s successful program is soon expanding to incorporate the male inmates. She is also developing a program for inmates to mentor at-risk youth, and hopes eventually to build an art gallery where inmate works can be exhibited and sold with proceeds used to support inmates and their families.
Mark Devries - Citizen Drone Project
The Huffington Post calls it “capable of fundamentally changing the worldview of its audience,” while Dr. Michael Shermer of Scientific American describes it as “brilliant and compelling … the best of the animal rights documentaries.”
Mark’s current initiative, secretly in the works since 2012, is The Citizen Drone Project, which employs high-tech aerial drones to expose the environmental devastation caused by factory farms across the country. The project’s first investigation, released only a few months ago, has been viewed by millions worldwide and received global media attention.
Mark tells us: “At any given moment, millions of animals are suffering the unimaginable horrors of factory farming, while huge numbers of people also suffer from its environmental destruction. We must do everything we can, every day, to make a change. I am thrilled that my work has already reached millions of people, and I will continue working tirelessly to reach millions more.”
Padmanaban Gopalan - No Food Waste
Padmanaban decided to create a solution. He founded No Food Waste in Coimbatore, India to redirect untouched excess wasted food to local hungry citizens, rather than seeing it go in the trash. Padmanaban’s team runs a volunteer-staffed hotline for wedding, banquet, and school organizers who wish to donate their excess food to the hungry in Coimbatore. To date, volunteers have donated approximately 5100 excess meals to hungry families and individuals.
Now Padmanaban plans to scale operations to 5 nearby cities with the aim of feeding more than 5000 hungry people every month. He is also in the process of writing a book on the organization’s philosophies and best practices, as well as creating a No Food Waste App capable of locating interested donators and people in need. He also visits schools to conduct No Food Waste audits and spread awareness and has already helped over 60 local schools to reduce their food waste. Padmanaban’s mission is simple: “Feed People, Not Landfills.”
Samantha N. Ngcolomba - Lady Liberty
Under the umbrella of CSI Boutique (Pty) Ltd., Samantha launched her project, Lady Liberty, to provide free legal counseling to women who are trapped in these situations without a basic understanding of what remedies the law affords them. Over the past year Samantha has visited 3 separate townships, providing legal counsel and assistance on marriage, divorce, and domestic abuse to over 250 impoverished women. Now she is expanding the operations by tapping into the reserve of labor and skill created by South Africa’s annual 24-hour Pro-Bono legal service requirement. Samantha is creating a mobile legal office staffed with lawyers from prestigious law firms who need to fulfill their annual service quota as well as have the desire to use the law to make a difference.
Gauteng will be the pilot area and the project will gradually scale to other areas traveling between different townships offering legal services to poor women. Eventually, Samantha hopes to develop an easy-to-use mobile app that allows access to basic legal information, interaction on pending cases, Attorney information, and the upcoming locations of the mobile office. Ultimately, Samantha’s vision is to promote justice for these women, to inspire hope where there may be none, and give women trapped in cycles of abuse, the practical and legal tools to escape.