I'm Steve Ember.
I'm Barbara Klein with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today we tell about four more individuals who
are making a difference in the world.
Each person is helping others in special ways.
Our first person who is making a
difference is known around the world. He
is often described as the man who has saved more lives than any other person in
history. Norman Borlaug is considered
the father of what has been called the Green Revolution. His ideas about agriculture increased crop
production and ended hunger in many nations.
Mister Borlaug continues to be a leader among agricultural researchers.
Borlaug was born ninety-four years ago on a farm in the American state of Iowa. In the middle of the twentieth century, world
population was expanding faster than food production. Experts said many people in developing
countries would face starvation.
Borlaug was an agricultural researcher at the International Maize and Wheat
Improvement Center in Mexico. He
developed methods of growing wheat that increased the amount harvested by three
times. He later repeated this success in
India, Pakistan and Africa.
methods of farming saved millions of people who would have starved to death. Norman
Borlaug was given the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in nineteen seventy.
Borlaug is still urging experts to think about the needs of people around the
world. His latest concern is a disease
in wheat called UG ninety-nine. He says
it has the power to destroy most of the wheat being grown around the
world. He says reductions in
agricultural programs have made it harder to take action against such threats.
Borlaug's granddaughter Julie works at the center named for him at Texas A&M University in Dallas. She says his worry
about food problems rises from the belief that hunger is unacceptable. She says Norman Borlaug still believes it is
our responsibility as human beings to feed one another.
Our next individual who is making a difference has come
a long way from living in homeless shelters and the streets of Newark, New
Jersey. Twenty-five year old Rahfeal
Gordon was honored this year by the National Foundation for Teaching
Entrepreneurship. He was recognized for
giving speeches that urge young people to improve their lives.
Gordon tells people: "If nobody ever says that you're brilliant, say it to
yourself every day. Look yourself in the
mirror. If you have survived something, I don't care how small, how big, you've
Gordon's message is simple: He tells the story of his own life in three
parts. Each begins with words from
hip-hop songs that he knows will be meaningful to young people.
Mister Gordon uses words from hip-hop songs to help
young people, especially those who grew up with poverty and abuse, as he
did. His speech is called "Hip-Hop Saved
Gordon says he listened to performers like Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur and Kanya West during
hard times in his life. He says their
songs helped him.
Mister Gordon says he had a happy childhood until his
parents became dependent on drugs. Then
his father began to beat his wife and sons. So they left home, and lived on the streets
and in homeless shelters. He says his
grandparents helped him survive.
After his brother was murdered, Rahfeal Gordon decided
he wanted to help people. "I can't be
Superman," he says. "I can't save the world, but I think if I can help an
individual, I am saving the world."
Mister Gordon says he hopes to speak to young people
across the United States and in other countries. This year, he received an award for social
entrepreneurship from the National Foundation for Teaching
Entrepreneurship. The award recognizes young
people who start businesses that help people or communities.
next individual making a difference is Lolan Sipan, a Kurdish anthropologist in
northern Iraq. Anthropologists study
human cultures and societies. Mister Sipan is working to save the traditions of
Kurdistan's nomadic shepherds.
nomadic tribes live in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan as they have for
thousands of years. The shepherds travel
from place to place and raise sheep. For
months at a time, they live in temporary shelters in the highlands, caring for
the animals. Not much is known about the
lives of the shepherds. But Lolan Sipan
wants to change that.
Lolan Sipan is attempting
to gather information about the number of tribes and the number of
families. He also wants to learn about the
lives of the women and children, and the tribes' struggle for survival.
summer, Mister Sipan travels to where the shepherds live. Life is not as peaceful as it appears because
of Turkish and Iranian military threats.
For example, Mister Sipan found an unexploded bomb in one area.
Life is also not easy for the nomadic shepherds. One woman told him about the danger and high
costs of caring for sheep. The woman
makes traditional cheese from sheep's milk.
But she earns little money from selling the cheese.
Sipan has asked United Nations agencies and government officials to help the
nomads in Kurdistan. He says their
culture would disappear within years if nothing is done soon. He says fifty percent of Kurdistan's nomads
have permanently settled in villages in the past ten years.
Lolan Sipan is showing a traditional nomadic home, a
black tent made of goats' hair. The tent
is in the Iraqi city of Irbil, on the top of a museum.
Sipan started the museum four years ago to show the nomads' traditional arts
and crafts, including weaving with cloth.
He says more people come to the museum each year. There were almost fifty thousand visitors in
two thousand seven.
this year, Mister Sipan received money from the United States to help support
traditional arts. Older nomadic
tribeswomen are now passing their sewing and weaving skills to a new generation
Our next individual, Rangina Hamidi, was born in Afghanistan.
Her family left Kandahar when she was a
young child and later settled in the United States. This was after the Soviet Union invaded her country.
The Taliban rule that followed the
Soviet occupation made life terrible for women in Afghanistan. Women still face difficult problems even
after the ouster of the Taliban government.
Miz Hamidi returned to Afghanistan seven years ago to
help improve the lives of women in Kandahar. She is working with a non-profit organization,
Afghans for Civil Society. The goal is
to help Afghan women learn skills that will give them economic
independence. The first goal was
starting an independent radio station in Kandahar. The next was an economic project.
in the project make hand-sewn embroidery products. The project started with only twenty women and
grew to four hundred fifty women in five years. Local activists also established a Women's
Council in Kandahar. Many activists say
they are working to increase women's rights and chances for success.
Hamidi started a company that sells the women's embroidery pieces in the
international market. The company is
called Kanadahar Treasures. She says she
will give it to the Afghan women when the company becomes successful. Miz Hamidi says she still worries about the
future of Afghanistan. She says Afghans must
take their own share of responsibility in their country.
Hamidi and the Afghan women she works with face problems every day. These
include power shortages, lack of clean water, rising corruption and danger from
resistance fighters. But she looks
forward to increasing her involvement in the rebuilding of her homeland in the
This program was written by VOA
correspondents and adapted by Shelley Gollust.
Our producer was Mario Ritter.
I'm Barbara Klein.
And I'm Steve
Ember. You can find stories about other
people who are making a difference on our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for EXPLORATIONS in
VOA Special English.