I'm Steve Ember.
I'm Barbara Klein with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today we tell about four individuals who are
making a difference. Each person is
working to make the world a better place.
biologist George Schaller helped to create the modern wildlife conservation
movement. He has spent his life studying
wild animals in more than twenty-five countries. Those animals have included mountain
gorillas, snow leopards, alligators and caribou.
This year, Mister Schaller received the
Indianapolis Prize -- the world's top award for animal protection and
conservation. The prize is worth one
hundred thousand dollars.
Schaller's first major interest was mountain gorillas. In nineteen fifty-nine, he moved to Central
Africa to live in the wild with the animals and observe their behavior. Little was known about mountain gorillas in
the wild until his book "The Mountain Gorilla" was published in nineteen
GEORGE SCHALLER: "The biggest task was to be able to observe the animals
so they don't run away. So, you slowly
get them used to you until they see: 'Oh, there's that Schaller again,' and
forget it, and they go on with their normal life. And that's the way you want it."
was the beginning of a lifetime of discoveries.
In the nineteen seventies, George Schaller became one of two westerners
to observe a snow leopard in Nepal. These
animals had not been seen by foreigners in almost thirty years.
eighty-eight, he and his wife were the first westerners permitted in China's
Chang Tang area to study giant pandas.
Six years later, he and another biologist discovered a new species of
goat in Laos.
Yet Mister Schaller says the pleasure of studying
animals is not his main interest. He
says guaranteeing their survival is most important. He says our whole civilization depends on the
environment – on clean air, water, soil and food. And, he says, there is not much hope unless
communities start fighting for a healthier environment.
Recently, the Indianapolis Zoo presented the
Indianapolis Prize to Mister Schaller for his conservation efforts. The zoo's president, Michael Crowther, called
him, "the father of conservation biology."
He also said there are generations of conservationists now who grew up
learning about the subject from George Schaller.
Schaller said he will use the prize money to train local conservationists
around the world. He said: "And so, you
leave something behind that will be valuable, long after everyone's forgotten
The United Nations estimates that more than
one hundred million people around the world are homeless. Another one billion people lack good homes. In the United States, between two million and
three million people have not had a home for more than a year. One American is attempting to solve this
problem with soccer, the game called football in other countries.
summer, two teams of four players each battled for control of a small, red and
white soccer ball in Washington, D.C. More
than one hundred players were in the city to take part in a competition. They share one thing in common: they all have
been homeless. Lawrence Cann
brought these players together to compete in the Homeless USA Cup.
Volunteers work with and train
the players throughout the year. The
volunteers come from homeless shelters, drug treatment and community
centers. Almost fifty countries have
similar programs. All of the teams will
compete in December at the Homeless World Cup in Australia.
Cann works at a community center in North Carolina. He has played soccer his whole life and loves
the sport. Four years ago, he started a
non-profit group, Street Soccer USA, as a program for homeless people. Mister Cann says his group builds
relationships with people. And once they
are living in homes, the group builds on that relationship.
Cann says his program helps to end popular but false ideas about
homelessness. He says that nobody chooses
to be homeless. He says homelessness is
a social issue, and everyone has a responsibility for it.
Cann says about seven hundred homeless men and women were on the soccer fields
this year. He says about seventy-five
percent of them will make positive changes in their lives. Many will continue their education or get
permanent jobs. Lawrence Cann's goal is
to get ten thousand homeless people involved in the program during the next
Marshall Bailly, started a group that helps university students in Africa and
Asia to create community service projects.
Mister Bailly is making a difference through development projects in
Namibia, Nigeria and the Philippines.
The young man first went to
Namibia five years ago while he was a student at American University in
Washington, D.C. His goal was to help
university students improve their communities.
the age of twenty, he developed a leadership program with the University of
Namibia to teach important skills to social activists. These include how to raise money and keep
trip to Namibia marked the birth of "Leadership Initiatives," the international
development organization Mister Bailly started.
Through American University, he had visited China, Japan, Angola,
Botswana and Nigeria. He had seen how
these countries were developing and how he could take part in their
development. He discovered that he could
use his studies to establish a class for students in Namibia.
One student who completed
Mister Bailly's leadership course launched her own program in the Namibian capital,
Windhoek. She is helping people living
in temporary camps to find work. Mister
Bailly says his development program is different from others because it trains
social activists to work with community leaders. His organization asks people to use their own
resources. The group does not loan money
or give other kinds of aid. But it does
build coalitions in communities.
From Namibia, Marshall Bailly
has taken his program to Nigeria and the Philippines. Since two thousand five, his group has trained
one hundred forty students to bring change to their societies. He says his Leadership Initiatives projects
have helped at least twenty-two thousand people. And other countries are interested in the
program. Rwandan officials have asked
Mister Bailly to bring his program to their universities.
Aime Baligizi is
a young Congolese man who is making a difference in Africa. He uses his education and his own experiences
to help others survive in areas affected by conflict.
Birao is a village in the
Central African Republic, near the border with Darfur, Sudan. The village is cut off from much of the rest
of the world. Birao was affected by
fighting between Central African rebels and government soldiers last year.
Mister Baligizi is one of
several aid workers attempting to help the local people and refugees from the
conflict in Darfur. Three hundred
refugees now live in Birao.
The twenty-nine year old
Congolese man directs a group of local workers for the French aid group called
Triangle. They are preparing to give out
seeds and food aid to about nine hundred families. He said: "We need to show them that we may be
giving them food but we will not be giving it all the time. They also have to
produce something for their families and the future."
When his work is done, Aime
Baligizi brings a few soccer balls to a local field to play with young
children. Some of them are refugees from
the conflict in Darfur. He says it is
important to bring some happiness to lives affected by violence. Mister Baligizi himself fled violence from
his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He says he was able to study in Uganda and in
Europe with the help of many people.
The young man says he is different from many other
humanitarian workers because he is working with other Africans. Sometimes he
feels like he is working in his own country.
"There are cultures, social
values that you have to respect and do your job in a way that respects
everybody. It is easy as an African to
be working in Africa."
This program was written by VOA
correspondents and adapted by Shelley Gollust.
Our producer was Mario Ritter.
I'm Steve Ember.
I'm Barbara Klein. You can download
audio and read scripts on our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for EXPLORATIONS in
VOA Special English.