+ Imam Prasodjo

Dr. Imam B. Prasodjo is a highly respected sociologist from Indonesia. He is the Founder of Nurani Dunia a non-government organization whose thrust is to offer assistance to victims of social and natural disasters. Through this NGO, Dr. Prasodjo is able to continue doing his social works through community development projects and peace-building actions. He is a faculty member of the Department of Sociology at the Department of University of Indonesia since 1997.

+ Dr. Raj Abdul Karim

Datuk Dr Raj Abdul Karim has dedicated her lifetime to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. In a career spanning 35 years, Dr Raj has been the prime mover of many policies and programmes that are in place today for ensuring the health and well-being of women, children and families.

In the early years of her career, as a young medical officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Raj was entrusted to develop Malaysia’s maternal and child health services. She travelled extensively throughout the country to help both women and men, about their health care and family needs, as well as seeking the opinion of a wide range of stakeholders from village leaders and extension workers, to government officials and political masters. A particular focus of her energy was on rural women, especially the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalized.

Under her leadership, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Maternal and Child Health Services of Malaysia expanded steadily, both in their coverage to underserved areas, as well as in the range of services provided. Strategies were put in place to provide health education within MCH services in clinics, homes and villages. Rural women were educated on the importance of family planning and nutrition in improving their health status and to space the number and timing of their children, so that they could enjoy and participate in social, economic and community activities. Knowing that women and children cannot be separated, Dr Raj worked equally on strategies to improve the health of children, girls and boys alike.

As a result of these measures, Malaysia’s maternal and infant mortality levels tumbled to an extent never before experienced in the developing world. Malaysia’s success story is one that we can all be proud of. It has gained international recognition. The nation’s extremely low infant and maternal mortality levels are now comparable to those in North America and Europe.During subsequent postings, as Director of the Public Health Institute, Ministry of Health in 1989 and Director General of National Population and Family Development Board in 1992, Dr Raj continued to develop programmes to empower women on family development, parenting and prevention and management of social ills. She worked on more sensitive issues of Reproductive Health, and initiated the first national study on Adolescent Reproductive Health and Sexuality with its findings presented to the Cabinet. This led to interventions to address controversial issues of sex education, women’s reproductive health rights, gender equality, domestic and sexual violence.

In October 1999, upon her retirement from government service, she was appointed as the Regional Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, East and South East Asia & Oceania Region. She currently supports 26 countries in the region, through their lead NGO in women’s health.

In April 2002, Dr Raj was appointed as a Commissioner to the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM). She is working on, inter alia, the protection of women’s rights, especially against violence, abuse and exploitation.

Her pioneering efforts in promoting the health and development of women and children of Malaysia are widely recognized. Nationally, she has received several coveted awards from the Malaysian government. Internationally, she is regularly invited to provide her expertise at international fora. She has had the distinction, among many others, of being the Chairperson of the United Nations 31st Commission Session on Population and Development.

Dr Raj is a trailblazer for women’s empowerment. An outstanding human being, an icon for women’s health and a source of inspiration for the younger generation, making her a deserving recipient of this year’s United Nations Award – and the first ever female recipient of such a distinguished award.

EDUCATION - the way out & up


+ Efren Peñaflorida

Efren G. Penaflorida, Jr. or KUYA F! grew up in the city slums of Cavite near the cemetery and dumpsite. He suffered bullying as a young boy and was being picked on by gangs in campus which made him lose interest in going to school and to discontinue his studies.

He became a participant of an interactive support group in campus of Club 8586, Inc. in 1994 which eventually changed his views and made him pursue his education through his mentor’s principle: “Love learning and embrace it for it shall embrace and love you back and shall enable you to change your world.”

Kuya F! formed the Dynamic Teen Company in 1997 together with his Club 8586, Inc. friends Rezcel Alconcel, Jefferson Bernal and Mentor KB Manalaysay. DTC operated under the supervision of Club 8586 and was trained to slowly get involved in street education and community projects. Kuya F! and his team of Dynamic Teen Company volunteers furthered their cause by the operation of the Kariton Klasrum in 2007. This project was recognized by Gawad Geny Lopez Bayaning Pilipino in 2007, by the NEDA and UN volunteers programme in 2008, and by the ASEAN TAYO Awards in 2009. It also won for the Philippines the 2009 CNN Heroes where Kuya F! emerged as its “Hero of the Year.” Recently, he was awarded as one of The Outstanding Young Men at Malacanang December 13, 2010.

“When people regard me as a hero, I always tell them that they should look inside them too because I believe that there’s a hero inside every one of us and all we have to do is just to open our eyes wide and feel what’s going on, then let our hearts be willing to accommodate the needy, the desperate and the hopeless simply by extending our hand to them, and there you will unfold the hero that is in you.”

+ Gregor Hadi Nitihardjo

Gregor Hadi Nitihardjo was born in St. Gallen (Switzerland) on February 6, 1964. After finishing his studies in Astronomy at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in 1988, Nitihardjo joined a development organization on children’s welfare called SOS Children’s Village as a youth educator. In 1994, he became the Village Director of SOS Children’s Village in Lembang, West Java and from 1997 until now, he serves as its National Director.

+ Agus Priyono

Prof. Dr. Agus Priyono is currently the Rector of Institut Sains Teknologi Nasional (ISTN or the National Institute of Science and Technology) in Indonesia. He’s also a visiting professor at Kolej Teknologi Darulnaim in Kelantan, Malaysia and currently a Board of Director of PT Wahyu Manunggal since 2001. He earned his Masters and Doctor in Philosophy degrees in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in Malaysia from 2000 to 2006.

Apart from Dr. Priyono’s colorful academic background and experience outside of Indonesia, his desire to improve the quality of education in his home country made him accept the offer to head ISTN.

+ Murti Bunanta

Dr. Murti Bunanta is the founder and president of The Society for The Advancement of Children’s Literature (S.A.C.L) founded in 1987. She is the first person to receive a doctorate degree from the University of Indonesia using research in children’s literature as the topic for her dissertation in 1997. She started her research on children’s literature when she was working on her thesis for her undergraduate degree in Dutch Literature (1981). She continued to conduct research on children’s literature for her master degree in American Studies (1986). She earned all of her degrees from the University of Indonesia.



Prevention and Re-Integration


+ Pardis Mahdavi

Pardis Mahdavi PhD is associate professor of anthropology at Pomona College. Her research interests include gendered labor, migration, sexuality, human rights, youth culture, transnational feminism and public health in the context of changing global and political structures.

Pardis has received outstanding research awards from the American Public Health Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Society for Medical Anthropology and the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Her first book, Passionate Uprisings: Iran’s Sexual Revolution was published with Stanford University Press in 2008, and her second book, Gridlock: Labor, Migration and ‘Human Trafficking’ in Dubai, also Stanford University Press, is now available.

+ Anuradha Koirala

For more than twenty years, Anuradha Koirala taught English at various schools in Kathmandu. In 1993 Ms. Koirala founded Maiti Nepal with the aim of providing services for both children and women who have endured untold pain and suffering, often in silence. Children, girls and women were being trafficked within and from Nepal for commercial sexual exploitation. She set up Maiti Nepal with a vow to put an end to this heinous crime.

After establishing Maiti Nepal, she plunged into the service of humanity. Her first work was establishing a rehabilitation home for those who have nowhere else to turn. Now, Maiti Nepal has three prevention homes, nine transit homes, two hospices and a high school. More than one thousand children receive direct services from Maiti Nepal every day.

Maiti Nepal today conducts a wide range of activities, including: conducting awareness campaigns, community sensitization, and rescue operations; apprehending traffickers; providing legal support to the needy; women’s empowerment programmes; and providing anti retro viral therapy (ART) to children and women infected by HIV.

So far, Anuradha Koirala has received 34 national and international awards in recognition of her lifetime achievement furthering the cause of children’s and women’s rights. Some of these awards include: German UNIFEM Prize 2007; Queen Sofia Silver Medal Award 2007; and The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience 2006, CNN Hero 2010, and the most recently Manhae Awards 2010 from Korea. Her achievements include liberating twelve thousand girls from brothels and providing ART before the government of Nepal could initiate this process. Due to her continuous struggle, the Government of Nepal recognizes 5th September as Anti-Trafficking Day. This endeavor was initiated by Maiti Nepal. She was also appointed as a state minister as an honor to her contributions.





Aaron Cohen is a human rights activist, Middle East scholar, and the author of the international best seller, “Slave Hunter”. He founded a modern-day ‘Jubilee’ movement to abolish slavery and establish task forces to free slaves and forgive debts around the world. He has contributed evidentiary material about slavery to various acts and legislations to criminalize human trafficking worldwide. As a veteran of the Darfur and Burma movements, media stories on CNN, Fox, CBS, Larry King Live, and NBC have lauded his work finding and retrieving victims of human trafficking. Cohen was awarded a Commendation from the County of Los Angeles for his efforts rescuing victims both at home and abroad. On many of his missions—Cohen often worked undercover, training military and law enforcement, to assess the phenomenon of slavery from the inside, to protect victims, and to prevent and prosecute human trafficking cases. He was awarded the Prize for Humanity for “risking all to save others” and he was honored with a US Congressional Certificate of Merit for his public service.


Imelda Salajan, a former BBC journalist, helped establish OnTrackMedia Indonesia – an NGO that uses the media to fight Human Trafficking. Her video curriculum was nominated as a world’s best practice in combating human trafficking by Condolezza Rice in 2006. Since then OnTrack has conducted numerous workshops, produced radio dramas and a 13-episode soap opera to help bring life-saving messages about human trafficking to the public. OnTrackMedia has now joined forces with Wadah to help raise people’s awareness of the scourge of “modern day slavery.”




Karina De Vega was born in the Philippines to Indonesian parents but grew up in Indonesia. In 1986, she graduated from the Gajah Mada University with a degree in International Relations Faculty of Social and Politics. She also earned a degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Toronto.

She’s the Founder of Yayasan Gita Eklesia, an orphanage that provides orphans a family-like environment, and not just shelter, to help them recover from the trauma that was inflicted upon them. This is located in Ambarawa, Central Java. The foundation also operates an orphanage that houses children who were orphaned by atrocities in the war-torn areas of Eastern Indonesia and Kalimantan. The orphanage was established in 2002 and now takes care of about 70 children.


“Togetherness is our strength” such is the motto of Mr. Budi Soehardi. Mr. Soehardi who is a commercial pilot was born on 31 Aug 1956 in Jogyakarta. Son of Mr. Soehardi an instructor from Gama and one of the founders of IKIP Negeri which is now known as Universitas Jogjakarta. His mother, Maria Soehardi was also a school teacher. Grew and raised in Yogyakarta, Budi Soehardi literally worked his way to college. From 1983 to 1988, he started working with Garuda Indonesia while at the same time studying Economics at Universitas Krisna Dwipayana. In 1987, she married Rosalinda Panagia Maria Lakusa (Peggy) and was blessed with three (3) wonderful children.

Pak Budi is the Founder of Roslin Orphanage which he established in 2002 to house the orphans of the East Timor conflict.

In 2009, Budi Soehardi was among the Top 10 candidates of the much coveted CNN Hero of the Year Award.


Robin, born to an American soldier and Filipino mother, founded Bumi Sehat in 1995, a village-based organization that runs community health centers in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia. Midwifery services to ensure gentle births is at the heart of Bumi Sehat and Robin’s clinics have helped thousands of low-income women to have a healthy birthing experience Bumi Sehat offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid in instances where families cannot afford care, as well as provide health consultations for children and adults.

“Ibu Robin” (Mother Robin) as she is called by the locals, was an author of many books related to infant and maternal health before becoming a midwife. She became a midwife after her younger sister died from complications from pregnancy.

“Every baby’s first breath on earth could be one of peace and love. Every mother should be healthy and strong. Every birth could be safe and loving. But our world is not there yet.” says Ibu Robin.