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tv   CNN Superhero Above and Beyond A CNN Heroes 10th Anniversary Special  CNN  December 9, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

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was largely scandal free and did it all the while under a microscope. because he looked different. in a sense, america made a big bet in electing barack obama as its first african-american president. and with respect to his personal character and intellect, most of the country believes it was a bet that paid off. i'm fareed zakaria. thanks for joining us. >> rebuilding homes bringing education to children in the philippines. helping women in need safely deliver babies in indonesia. caring for the children of incarcerated parents in nepal. cleaning rivers and waterways
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across the united states. >> just make piles every hundred feet. >> over the past decade, all five have been honored as the cnn hero of the year for their efforts and tonight we catch up with them to see where they are now. this is cnn super hero, above and beyond. i'm anderson cooper. it's the tenth anniversary of cnn heros. we have celebrated remarkable individuals who found a way to make the world a better place. with are honoring their commitment and courage to change the world. their stories of compassion, perseverance embody the best of humani humanity. they saw a need and stepped up. they have changed and saved lives. each year we honor ten amazing individuals and we reveal who
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viewers chose to be the cnn hero of the year. tonight, we catch up with five of our cnn heros of the year to see where they are now. before we get started we want to kick off something special. starting tonight, right now in fact we want you to choose which of tonight's past cnn heros of the year will be named cnn super hero this sunday night. voting is open and continues all weekend and in to this sunday night tenth annual cnn heros all watch to learn about the best of the best and let us know who you think should be named the cnn
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super hero and get $50,000 to further their cause. when we met liz in 2008, she and her boyfriend started a nonprofit to rebuild homes for victims of hurricane katrina. today they have rebuilt 1200 homes an the world and is still at it. this year torrential rain swamped 20 perishes destroying 60,000 homes and properties. >> so we are in central louisiana, helping to rebuild the home of ms. linda and mr. jesse. he is a vietnam vet. they don't live in a flood zone. they weren't expecting this to happen. >> we opted for no flood insurance. that was one of the things we
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opted out of. we've lived in this home for 40 years. we had never flooded. >> over the course of seven days in august, nearly 7 trillion gallons of rain pummelled southern louisiana. a sucker punch resulting in the worst united states disaster since hurricane sandy. >> we stayed in the parking lot of the church for the night. then the next morning, the water was still coming up. our neighbor came over the wooden fence in his boat, and he took pictures and then would send it to us so we could see exactly how high it was. >> when the family finally returned home, their property and belongings had been destroyed. they were advised to gut their home because of contamination and health hazards. >> we started with wheelbarrows, shovels and started taking everything to the road. our mountain of belongings were put in a truck, and we watched
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them lift it and dump it in the truck. things that we worked all our lives for. >> we're setting up an office in baton rouge and working with other organizations. so we've been sending volunteers back and forth from baton rouge to support the immediate recovery efforts there. >> you're hired. >> all right. >> i got a call from liz one day and everything from then on started falling into place. >> all right. >> for a full decade, our first cnn hero of the year, liz mccartny, helped families like the marcuses move back into their homes. >> look at that. >> liz started rebuilding homes in 2006 in new orleans after hurricane katrina, and she hasn't stopped since then. cnn heros honored liz and her organization, the st. bernard
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project, in 2008. today, her organization is called, simply, sbp, and they're stronger and larger than ever. >> please join us. together, we can continue to rebuild families' homes and lives. thank you. >> we've rebuilt almost 1200 houses with help from over 130,000 volunteers from every state in the country. from over 70 countries from around the world. it's been like an extraordinary outpouring of support. sbp works in seven different disaster-impacted communities across the country. new york, new jersey, a community in texas, columbia, south carolina and parts of west virginia. now, most recently, in baton rouge. >> today, disaster recovery is liz's full-time job. she and her team are keenly focused on prevention and safety, as well. >> i think we've learned over the years that we have to dig in and try to address the root cause of the problem. actually, it's one of the things i tell our partners now in baton rouge.
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it always makes me cry. it'll make me cry now. you don't want to be me in ten and a half years, still helping families get back home. let's figure out how to do this as efficiently and as smartly and cooperatively as possible. so, yeah, it's really been a journey. >> sbp launched the disaster resilience and recovery lab to help business and homeowners prior to a disaster. afterwards, they're there for homeowners, charities and government officials to share best practices and insight. over the years, sbp has also started mental health support groups, affordable housing projects and veterans assistance programs. when cnn heros met liz, the project was a grassroots initiative. today, her team receives support from major sponsors and sbp is recognized globally as a disaster recovery program. >> it attracted people to the organization. it was a way to let folks know there is a huge need out there in communities impacted by a disaster, and there is a way they can help very meaningfully that will change people's lives.
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>> sbp's new headquarters in new orleans is used as a hub for experts to gather. so far, sbp had more than 130,000 volunteers working on more than 1,000 projects across america. >> it's going to be good. >> more than half of the volunteers have been in new orleans. >> i've worked on about a dozen or so homes since moving down here in about an eight-month period. it's easy to assume that, you know, everything has been taken care of. it's not true. there's a lot of work to be done. it's inspiring, you know, seeing those people who come down here with real energy. >> pretty sweaty, too. >> the reality is, it's all about having a great team, and we're surrounded by a lot of very dedicated, extremely hard working people. >> the fruits of sbp's efforts and other groups working in new
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orleans have paid off. in many ways, the city is thriving. tourists are back. new businesses are opening. but liz says there are still displaced residents. more than ten years after katrina, people who want to come home but can't. >> 11 years after katrina, and many neighborhoods look like this one. they're vibrant, people are back home, life is very much back to normal. i think the biggest problem that we're seeing is we're still working with families who were impacted by katrina who are not home yet. the real challenge is that the overwhelming majority of those people are victims of contractor fraud or theft or vandalism. they've just run out of resources. they don't have a clear path home. >> we were here for katrina. we had 6 1/2 feet of water. >> hurricane katrina struck in august of 2005, leaving new orleans and its residents reeling. >> i went in there, it looked like somebody had taken a bomb and just blew up everything. it was unbelievable. >> unbelievable.
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>> for ten years, the hendersons struggled to rebuild until they submitted an application to sbp. >> someone called me, and she said, ms. henderson, we have your application and we're going to help you out, get back to your home. this is the living room, the dining room. when i saw it, i was like, wow! it's beautiful. >> i had nothing to do with the colors. i do the outside work. >> liz mccartny spent the last decade baring witness to katrina's destruction and helping flood survivors find a path home. she was recognized as a champion of change by the white house. in january of 2013, liz was one of the citizen co-chairs of president obama's second inauguration. >> i also am always like, it's not me. we have this great team, right? i don't know. we get a lot of people stepping up and saying, i can do my part. and i will do my part. >> for liz mccartny and co-founder zach rosenberg, who continue to run the organization together, their professional journey has been mirrored by a
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personal one. the co-founders got married in 2010. today, they're raising a family of their own in new orleans. liz says neither journey was planned. >> when zach and i started, we were, i think, like naive enough that we thought, we'll come down for a little while and try to help. and i never would have imagined that we'd still be here doing this work. the thing that's always inspiring and a little bit scary to me is when people look me in the eye and they say, i'll keep coming until you tell me to stop. i think, i have to keep showing up every day then. >> liz and her team are doing tremendous work. we cannot wait to see where they're going to be in another ten years. in the meantime, who will be named the cnn superhero? vote now at cnn heros.com. watch this sunday night's tenth annual cnn heros all-star tribute to find out which past cnn hero of the year will win $50,000 to further their cause. next up, we're going to catch up with a young man who started his mission to change
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the world as a teenager and hasn't stopped since. >> whenever we go from one community to another community, children were running towards us. they were waiting for us and smiling. >> cnn hero of the year efren penaflorida used to push a single cart of books and supplies to teach kids in the slums of the philippines. today, his push carts are everywhere, and his classroom on wheels has been replicated around the world. meet a real hometown hero when we come back. this one is from channel islands national park. coronado. saguaro. you'll see there's one that's an eagle. my number one goal is getting more funds out to parks
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supplies. volunteers brought the classroom to kids who were forced to drop out of school in the philippines. he was a teenager when he started the project in the slums to combat gangs and the bullies who threatened him at school. he hoped to engage kids through learning instead of violence. >> in 2009, when the cnn heros met me and the volunteers pushing the carts, people were laughing at us. they would discourage us. they'd say it's a waste of time. >> the cnn hero of the year is efren penaflorida. >> but after cnn heros featured us, it changed everything. >> you are the change that you dream, as i am the change that i dream. and collectively, we are the change that this world needs to be. >> efren says the heros recognition came at a time he needed support more than ever.
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>> after we were featured, people were like, you're doing a good job. it changed everything. it changed the perspective of a lot of people. >> in a country where nearly a quarter of the people live below the poverty line, efren's story of hope helped put a struggling population on the map. as the world began to focus on the plight of children living in poverty, more kids got the chance to learn. >> whenever we go from one community to another community, children were like swarming around, running towards us. they were waiting for us and smiling. they really have this hunger for learning. >> today, efren's simple little cart and a team of passionate volunteers have brought education to an estimated 40,000 children around the world. many of these kids were sold into prostitution or working in garbage dumps or had been coerced into gangs. efren is helping them learn and get back into school.
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>> we gather all the children. we hold the programs for health care, feeding the children. we have activities like school supplies giving. we have regular volunteers gathering, providing them encouragement, empowering them as much as we can. >> very good. >> my life before was really a miserable life. i became a dropout student. i've been also in prostitution, child prostitution, child labor. the cart on classroom is not just a school for me, but also a family for me. >> this year, in one month alone, efren and his team got more than 1,200 kids from the streets back into the school system. and on top of decreasing the dropout rate in his hometown, efren has made waves around the world. he's received awards, done television interviews and was
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the focus of a tv movie. but efren says that more important than the accolades are the results that his program has inspired. >> when we started the organization, gangs, street wars are very rampant. we saw there's a tremendous decrease of the issues of gangsters and gangs around, and we are glad that we're one of those people who help in making the place better. >> taking the push cart classroom to new levels, efren has recently teamed up with the department of education in the philippines and with other international groups to replicate the push cart classroom. >> the cart on classroom here in the philippines is a symbol of hope and education. we have counted 83 replications all over the philippines. plus, we have two aboard in indonesia and in kenya. that idea has gone a long way. it reached thousands of children, and it touches their lives. we believe that education is a powerful tool.
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it can make someone's life become productive. and it can really change the world. >> with prize money from cnn heros, efren has also built new educational facilities. in 2012, his group opened up a new high school, solar powered safe haven for high school students who had fallen through the cracks. >> we go from house to house and try to get high school students who still want to go to school but don't have the opportunity, so we give them a free education and help them graduate in secondary education. we're going to have our first batch of graduates in 2018. we want to create a higher education program for these young people so that they can
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fulfill their dreams and hopefully get a decent job in the future. giving them an opportunity and helping them fulfilling their dreams, that's, for me, more rewarding than other things. >> efren says his cnn hero colleagues have also stayed close. >> x minus 1 equals zero. >> when a typhoon decimated areas in 2013, causing widespread destruction, efren mobilized his team to help in one of the hardest hit areas. he also issued a rallying cry to his fellow cnn heros. >> i contacted all my co-honorees. they responded. henley was there. he was able to bring water filters to each community. robin lim was there, also, to help pregnant women. when the three of us met
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together, we were like avengers coming together to help the community. >> today, efren is 35 years old. he works on his project full time and teaches a math class. he continues to push his cart. >> i was saved by this kind of program. i was encouraged to continue my education and love learning and embrace it. that's what we are trying to share with these children. not to give up on their life. not to give up on their dreams. so we believe that education is a powerful tool to make these children become productive in life and help us help change the world. we're never too young to give back to society. one is never too ordinary to be a hero. >> efren's work has come a long way since we met him. kids all over the world are
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getting an education because of one simple idea. don't forget to vote now for efren or one of our other amazing heros. vote now at cnn heros.com and watch this sunday night's tenth annual cnn heros all-star tribute to find out which past cnn hero of the year will win $50,000 to further their cause. next, they call her mother. >> we believe that it is a human right to have respectful care, prenatal care, birth services, postpartum care. >> in indonesia, robin lim helped thousands of mothers safely deliver their babies. find out how her work has grown since being profiled as a cnn hero when we come back. thope to see you again soon.. whoa, whoa, i got this.
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welcome back to cnn superhero: above and beyond. for more than two decades, the well-being of mothers and babies has been the focus of cnn hero and licensed midwife robin lim. a mission she embraced after her sister died from complications during pregnancy. cnn heros honored robin in 2011 for bringing safe and free maternal health care to women in indonesia. since being named a cnn hero, thousands more babies have entered the world safely, thanks to robin and her healthy mother earth clinics. today in bali, where her main clinic is located, robin is
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ready 24/7 for the next delivery. >> mothers sometimes come by boat, ferry, and then they have to find a ride on a motorcycle in the rain to get here in the middle of the night. then when they get here, they get a hug. and they get mid wives ready 24/7 to care for them. sometimes in the middle of the night, we're exhausted. another motorcycle comes. another mother in labor. then we start over again. >> after being selected 2011 cnn hero of the year, robin used her prize enough and international recognition to launch fundraising for a clinic she'd long dreamed of. today, that dream is a reality. a new community health and child care clinic for robin and her staff to serve mothers and babies in need on a much larger scale. >> back in 2011, we didn't have this beautiful space. you take a dream, and you add cnn money. put them on tv, shake it up. more donations.
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and we have this amazing place. amazing. we're able to help more people than ever. now that we have a big enough space, we're able to do all kinds of things. we're able to do free ambulance service. ultrasound. acupuncture. nurses and mid wives present 24/7. doctors every day. we help the people who are falling through the cracks, and those mothers know they're going to get the same beautiful, loving service here as wealthy people get. it's all the same. >> since she launched her mission in 1995, robin helped more than 300,000 patients with a range of medical services. today, her team assists in more than 1,000 deliveries every year. we caught up with robin recently
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at her new center. the night before, she'd helped deliver four babies. >> oh, darling. this baby is less than one day old. she has not got a name yet. her mom is taking a little rest while i hold her. if this baby's mother had given birth in a hospital somewhere else and did not have the money to pay, they would be forced to leave the baby in the hospital until they could find the money to pay. you'll see them outside the hospital, sleeping on newspapers to stay warm. to wait for someone in the family to try to bring them money. this mother, of course, her service here for childbirth, all her prenatal care, everything, postpartum care, will be free. >> in 2011, when cnn heros was filming robin's story, she received a visit from supermodel and health care advocate, christy burns, whose own health care initiatives were in line with robin's? >> in 2011, i'd heard of her but didn't know her. when she showed up, she was a bright light. she walked around the village with me, and the children were
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so excited. >> that visit was the beginning of a lasting relationship. in 2012, robin delivered a baby whose mother was hiv positive. an emergency resuscitation, robin was exposed to the hiv virus. >> here in bali, the hiv problem is huge. so i sat down and i sat at my computer. i wrote an e-mail to christy turlington burns. i didn't know what to do, you know. her response, by the next day, was you need a lab. she said, okay, every mother counts. we'll finance it. >> christy turlington burns and her non-profit, every mother counts, along with an international community of supporters, teamed up to fund the memorial lab. >> we have a full lab now. something we did not have in 2011. >> an on site facility at robin's clinic. now, robin and her team can get test results quickly and give mothers with hiv medication to reduce the risk of infecting
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their babies. >> you're the one that kept me up all night, yes. i think for me, knowing that we have friends out there that will do anything for us when we're in need, and since we've had our lab, we recently have nine mothers who are hiv positive that are all on the medication. i do not have hiv. i am so blessed. i can tell you that medicine saves lives. >> today, there are three clinics. two in indonesia and one in the philippines, with midwives staffed year round. robin also offers training and scholarships and has been able to expand her educational programs. >> we travel to other islands in the philippines. here in indonesia. about 13,000 young midwives a year and nurses have a half-day seminar with me and with our midwives. also, we have a classroom now
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upstairs. we have groups coming. some of the midwives here are midwives from poor families that had no chance of an education. if a girl has a dream to be a nurse, a midwife or teacher, we find a way. we find a sponsor. >> robin's group is also at the ready to respond to international disasters and other emergencies. in 2013, she and her team of midwives were on the ground immediately following the deadly typhoon in the philippines. >> after the big superstorm haiyan, the government centers, the clinics, all gone. completely reduced to rubble. everything was gone. yet, we were able to set up a tent. in a two by two and a half meter tent, we had 277 babies. doctors were bringing us mothers in the middle of the night, and we had to handle it there. when a woman is pregnant and a disaster strikes, she still has to have her baby if there is no hospital. >> robin set up a permanent clinic in the philippines high risk zone and offers assistance after natural disasters.
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>> we believe it is a human right to have respectful care, prenatal care, birth services, postpartum care. >> in bali, where robin has lived more than 20 years, she's a mainstay in the villages and looks forward to continuing her work around the world. >> well, i'm turning 60 this november. i've grown a little bit older. i hope i've grown wiser. we have a saying, our job is to take care of the least, the lost and the last. and that's our vision and mission. is to take care of the people no one wants to care for. i'm so blessed to walk down the street and see the faces of these kids. most of them, i've seen them arrive into this world. and when they run up to me and hug me, just makes life worth living. >> robin's commitment to
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maternal health made a huge impact on so many lives. to vote for robin lim or another past hero of the year to be named the cnn superhero. go to cnnheros.com and be sure to watch this sunday night's tenth annual cnn heros all-star tribute to find out which cnn hero of the year alum will win $50,000 to further their cause. next up, children growing up in prison though they've committed no crime. >> the smile and the hope and the dream that they have, i think, yes, that really keeps me inspired to do more. >> pushpa basnet of kathmandu, nepal, found out kids often live with an incarcerated parent, she created a center for them to reclaim their childhood, go to school and thrive. when we come back, pushpa prove s despite pushbacks and hurdles, she won't ever stop. welcome back to cnn don and i met because i'm a volunteer for meals on wheels. we had an instant connection. what was that? i said, "delivering to you is always a special treat."
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oh. company, companionship, food... we all need those things. when we get in that spot in life, it's kind of nice to have 'em there. (avo) through the subaru share the love event, we've helped deliver over one point four million meals to those in need. get a new subaru, and we'll donate two hundred and fifty dollars more. ♪put a little love in your heart.♪ previously treated withd noplatinum-based chemotherapy, including those with an abnormal alk or egfr gene who've tried an fda-approved targeted therapy, this is big. a chance to live longer with opdivo (nivolumab). opdivo demonstrated longer life and is the most prescribed immunotherapy for these patients. opdivo significantly increased the chance of living longer versus chemotherapy. opdivo works with your immune system. opdivo can cause your immune system to attack normal organs
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and tissues in your body and affect how they work. this may happen any time during or after treatment has ended, and may become serious and lead to death. see your doctor right away if you experience new or worsening cough; chest pain; shortness of breath; diarrhea; severe stomach pain or tenderness; severe nausea or vomiting; extreme fatigue; constipation; excessive thirst or urine; swollen ankles; loss of appetite; rash; itching; headache; confusion; hallucinations; muscle or joint pain; flushing; or fever... as this may keep these problems from becoming more serious. these are not all the possible side effects of opdivo. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including immune system problems, or if you've had an organ transplant, or lung, breathing, or liver problems. a chance to live longer. ask your doctor about opdivo. see opdivotv.com for this and other indications. bristol-myers squibb thanks the patients, nurses, anphysicia involved in opdivo clinical trials.
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welcome back to cnn superhero: above and beyond. our next hero, 2012 cnn hero of the year, pushpa basnet, dreamed for a place her kids could call home. in kathmandu, pushpa cared for and educated kids who had been living in nepalese prisons with their parents because no one could care for them while mothers and fathers served their sentences. the butterfly home was named for children to grow wings and fly and it was a safe haven for kids with no safety net. providing them food, health care and schooling. pushpa felt the kids deserved more. >> kids used to walk to the road. every time, people used to look at them in a negative way. oh, they are running a small orphanage or shelter that looks at the kids out of prison. always, i had the passion or dream that people looked at our butterfly home and would say, whose house is that, a resort? >> with the prize money she
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received in 2012, pushpa took the first step in making her dream come true. she bought a plot of land. the property was high above the congesd and povey-stricken areas of kathmandu and a short walk from the children's school. >> it should be close to nature. all the childhood life they were spending in a prison, in a big wall. >> in 2015, the home that pushpa has long imagined was on its way to completion. four new structures were up, and construction was in full swing. with all pushpa's earnings and dreams invested in the project. and then, the unthinkable. >> suddenly, what i hear was, you know, people were screaming. earthquake! earthquake! >> on april 25th, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck nepal.
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>> my van was moving up and down. people were coming in the road, you know. i just jumped off from the van and i said, no, i need to go and save my kids, you know. >> more than 8,000 people were killed. hundreds of thousands were left homeless. entire villages were flattened. >> i could not even think anything. i was, like, this is it. it's the end of our world, and it is the end of our family. >> remarkably, all 42 of pushpa's children survived. in the days, weeks and months following the earthquake, pushpa and her kids took shelter under a tarp. pushpa learned that her new butterfly dream home was destroyed. >> 45 seconds, everything fell down. everything. my dreams were all scattered. it was gone. i literally sat down and cried like anything. i could see my dream coming, of such a beautiful thing taking shape.
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it was a huge impact on myself, but i could not show it because i don't want to prove that i am a weak person. >> pushpa says she felt hopeless. she faced challenges before, but this time, she at no time know how she would rebuild. displaced with 42 kids to care for, pushpa says it was ultimately the children who rekindled her hope. >> we stayed in a field for three, four months. every day, i used to see my kids in the field. they were playing, singing, dancing. and i think i had a hope that my kids are all safe, i'm safe, my family are safe. i am a strong person, you know. i have to be strong for myself and for my 40 kids living with me. the life is something that if it's gone, it's gone. the house is something we can redo it. >> resilience and determination
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long defined pushpa's life. she was a 21-year-old college student when she first learned about the plight of kids living in nepal's prisons. alarmed by the discovery, she soon took action. pushpa started a non-profit called ecdc, early childhood development centre, to care for the kids of inmates. she started with four children in 2005 and grew the program to care for more than 40. from kathmandu, pushpa basnet. little support from the government or public when she was honored. >> this is for my country, nepal. thank you so much for everyone who voted for me and believed in my dream. thank you. >> the global attention she received when she was announced as cnn hero of the year was something all together new. >> after becoming the cnn hero of 2012, after coming back to nepal, everything changed in my life. the first thing i encountered in
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the airport was my father. i never got a hug from my father. i think that was the first time in my life that my father hugged me. maybe he felt that, oh, i'm proud of you. what you've done. >> pushpa says the spotlight inspired her to work harder. since 2012, she's been able to substantially reduce the number of kids living in prisons. she also offers scholarships and works with the nepalese government to improve conditions of kids living in prisons wi their parents. >> we've been working with 27 prison, but now, our government are more aware of giving a right for the kids living inside the prison. almost, they have to travel for two days to come here, you know, by bus or by walking. to get a better future. but we make sure that they are connected with their parents. because that's the most important thing, you know. >> after the earthquake destroyed her new home, pushpa's story of hope and loss reached
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millions around the world. in 2015, a charity group in germany stepped in and gave pushpa the money she needed to rebuild the house. on february 3rd, 2016, pushpa and her children moved in. >> this is my dream world, and this is my dream world for my kids. we have a separate building for boys. a separate building for girls. and we have a library, computer room, study room. so we have a kitchen and open dining hall. we have a garden. we have a solar panel, which runs the butterfly home with the solar. we have vegetable garden. definitely, the most important thing we have is love within ourself, you know? >> today, pushpa is 33 years
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old. she and her kids are stronger than ever and have plans to open their home to even more children in the future. >> so i think the stigma has changed. now, people say that, look at this kids, they have such a fortunate life, you know? they have so blessed to have a good education, good environment, good family and everything, you know? >> for pushpa basnet, the last 12 years of hard work has paid off. through her various programs, she has helped educate and care for more than 150 kids. she may be a cnn hero, but to her children, she's mother. and mother has no plans to stop. >> when someone calls me a cnn hero of the year 2012, are you pushpa, when they call me up, i do blush out. i really blush out. my face color changes. my kids are my hero. because they are the one who really inspired me to do this
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work. the hope that i have for kids living in the prison or living in nepal, that all should have a normal life, a better education, a better environment for them. i would expect them to get a better education so tomorrow, they can have a better future. but the most important thing is that what we have to create is a happy, smiling face on these kids. for them to see that if you dream, if you have that passion, we can change the world, you know. so i think the smile and the hope and the dream that they have, i think, yes, that really keeps me inspired to do more. >> we love mamu! >> pushpa has been a joy to follow. her laughter is contagious and work is improving the lives of other children. pushpa and four others are in the running to be the first ever
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cnn superhero. vote now at cnnheros.com and watch sunday night's all-star tribute to find out which past cnn hero of the year will win $50,000 to further their cause. next up, a million trees planted in millions of pounds of garbage pulled out of america's waterways. >> four boats, three cars. over 255 gallon barrels. thousands of tires. >> i met chad pregracke when he first got started. today, the impact he had on the planet is plain to see. when we come back, life on the river with a man on the mission to make this country cleaner, fresher and better for all of us. once i heard i was going to
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be a park ranger, i got really excited. gabe's obviously really sick. and there's a lot that he isn't able to do, and make-a-wish stepped in. we had to climb up the mountain to get the injured hiker. he fell from, like, a rock. he's been the one that has been rescued so many times. he said to me, "today, i got to be the hero." (avo) the subaru share the love event has helped grant the wishes of over twelve hundred kids so far. get a new subaru, and we'll donate two hundred and fifty dollars more to help those in need.
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♪put a little love in your heart.♪
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my name is jamir dixon and i'm a locafor pg&e.rk fieldman most people in the community recognize the blue trucks as pg&e. my truck is something new... it's an 811 truck. when you call 811, i come out to your house and i mark out our gas lines and our electric lines to make sure that you don't hit them when you're digging. 811 is a free service. i'm passionate about it because every time i go on the street i think about my own kids. they're the reason that i want to protect our community and our environment, and if me driving a that truck means that somebody gets to go home safer, then i'll drive it every day of the week. together, we're building a better california.
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welcome back to cnn super hero above and beyond. cnn hero chad pregracke may be the only guy around trying to make his garbage collection bigger. he spent the last two decades cleaning up water ways around america. living lands and waters have removed millions of pounds of waste trash and toxic chemicals from rifrsz across the united states. chad has been vocal about the need to protect and save our planet. >> chad pregracke. >> in 2013 when he was announced as cnn hero of the year, chad, who is rarely at a loss for words admits he wasn't prepared at all. >> i've winged a lot in my life.
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but certainly that night i wasn't prepared to give a speech. umm. >> [ laughter ] >> everybody has great causes, everybody is just as passionates. and again the world wins. >> you know i've met so many great people today, the other heros. and i'm really moved by all of their stories and all the things they do around the world. and i'm just going to give $10,000 to each of them because they are awesome. that's why i split the money and i gave $10,000 to each different hero the other nine. >> chad says his decision to share his prize money with the other top ten cnn heros was a spur of the moment call. but he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his portion. >> a little less known thing that living lands waters does is we grow trees. my goal when i set out was to get 1 million trees planted. i used the money to help expand the nursery. since 2013, we have planted our
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1 millionth tree, which is really cool. >> planting trees, removing trash, keeping the planet cleaner, chad says his involvement with cnn heros has helped him do all of this, and more. >> so since 2013, a lot has happened. by the end of this year, i'll have done and helped facilitate over 1,000 river clean ups. >> let's do this. >> and have worked side by side with over 100,000 volunteers. >> just make files every 100 feet. >> and removed over 10 million pounds of garbage. >> all right. >> it's really cool. all you need to do is just change your world. whatever that is. the river for me, was my world. >> oh, yeah. that's a freezer. >> i recognized a problem. i'm going something about it. >> tie your bags up and we're going to head it back. >> thanks a lot, man. >> chad and his group have invested in state-of-the-art
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equipment that has taken garbage removal to a new level. >> we are able to make such a big difference in like a quarter of the time. it's really rewarding. just mountains of gash a.j. that would have taken 30 times as long. the excavator as well has been helping you us. our new goal is a million pounds a year for many years to come. it is amazing. it's like the excavator are people power mixed. it is a completely different operation than it was in 201. >> chad pregracke has spent much of his life getting dirty in order to keep the planet clean. >> look at that. >> to date, he and his crew cleaned up with 23 rivers in 23 states. we caught up with chad on the ohio river near cincinnati where his operation was in full swing. >> it's dusty. we've been on the ohio river almost two months and we've done 241,000 pounds of garbage in like -- it's like a 30, 40-mile
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stretch. in the last three days we pulled out like four boats, three cars. over200 55-gallon barrels. there is there are rafts of plastics. it's bad. really bad. let's see out there. >> for chad, the operation is also a family affair. >> what is cool is i live with my wife on the barge and my daughter. my wife tammy sets up all of our big events. skyler is out here as well, my daughter. she has been running the excavator. that's what she is getting good at. >> on top of the push to clean up rivers, skmad company also want to spread the word and educate the public the harmful effects trash and waste have on america's rivers. >>s that lesson on sustainability. >> reporter: chad's group built
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a floating classroom, teachers and students can come on board and learn firsthand. >> garbage just one of the problems. but the fact that all these cities and towns along the rivers they all pull the drinking water directly out of it. >> 17 bags. >> and the stuff we're pulling out, i mean, barrels, and a decent amount have substances in them, you know, from oil to chemicals, to you name it. >> a new front door, tammy. >> yep. >> there is no other agency coming out here to do this. we are pretty much the only people with the scale of the operation doing this like this. and it needs to be done. fertilizers in conjunction with all of our clean ups, adding education in there -- it is a necessity. by the end of this year we will have had over 10,000 either teachers or students through the classroom. that's how you not only get the river clean but keep it clean is through education. >> but the amount of garbage continues to pile u. just when
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chad wondered what todowithit all. some sponsors stepped up to help him with recycling efforts. >> we have built good partnerships. they are taking our tires and doing different recycling things with it. pulling the stuff out of the river is one thing. but then disposing of it properly is another thing. they are actually putting it back in plastic parts and sledding and recycling it. >> chad says what he does is not just about the environment. it is an expression of patriotsism. >> green is really great. i think it's more red, white, and blue. it is a patriotic thinge do. there are certainly many ways to serve your country. all the volunteers that come out here, and all the different organizations doing different things that's being patriotic. it's making the country a better place. >> we are going to clean up some rivers today.
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are you guys ready. >> woo! >> yes! >> decades of determination has paid off. but the results chad sees didn't happen all at once. they are years and years in the making. >> another bridge down. >> it really does make me pretty proud that we are able to make such a big difference. you know, i didn't start out with like a master plan, like, you know, i'm just like an average person. >> there we go. >> doing a unique job. and it has had big results. i think if nothing else, like this is the perfect example of like an average person can make a big difference with a lot of people from a lot of people. >> good game, good game, goodity game. >> yes. >> we got it. >> it happens. you can do it. >> yeah! >> woo! >> so do it. >> there you have them, five of our past cnn heros of the year.
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each in the run to be named in the tenth anniversary of cnn's super hero. tune in sunday night for the tenth annual cnn heros all star tribute. we'll honor our top ten heros, we will choose the 2016 hero of the year and who you have chosen to be the tenth anniversary super hero. i am a hosting with kelly ripa. it's going to be a great night. thank you for watching. the following is a cnn special report. barack obama's america was born with hope. >> people were crying in the streets. >> and with crisis. >> crash of the financial system. >> likely to get worse before it gets better. >> financial panic. >> we were hanging on the edge of a cliff. >> health care hysteria. >> why don't they take the health care being forced down our throats?
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>> two wars. mass shootings. >> a gunman opens fire. >> spray of bullets. >> the mass killing -- >> racial violence. >> if i had a son, he'd look like trayvon. >> this guy is a racist. >> but barack obama made some big bets that paid off. >> welcome home. >> troops came home. >> i'm so happy! >> gays got married. >> america has lived up to her promise of liberty and justice for all. >> enemies were vanquished. >> justice has been done. >> usa! >> millions got health care. >> obamacare. ♪ amazing grace >> and sometimes tragedy gave birth to hope. >> that was a profoundly important moment. >> as a new era begins --

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