The New Heroes
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The New Heroes, hosted by Robert Redford, is a four-hour PBS series that travels the globe to explore the ideas and impact of “social entrepreneurs” who are making the the world a better place. To order the DVD or soundtrack, click here.

Courageous, compassionate and committed to transforming society, these brilliant men and women have turned their business skills into tools for change, development and hope. For them, profit is measured not in dollars and cents, but in lives transformed and dignity restored.

These four stories were featured on the “New Heroes ” House Party DVD, which is no longer available. To be notified of future house parties, click here.

Martin Fisher and Nick Moon -
New Technology Helps African Farmers Escape Poverty

Martin Fisher and Nick Moon created a company called ApproTEC that has been helping farmers in Kenya lift themselves out of poverty for the past 20 years. Fisher and Moon invented an irrigation pump that runs solely on manpower and can double the yield of a small farm. Instead of taking a whole day to water 1,800 seedlings by hand, a farmer can water 10,000 seedlings in one hour! Manufactured by ApproTEC at the lowest possible cost, the pump sells for only $78. While this is an astronomical sum for Kenyans, the farmers realize the benefits the pump can bring them. They sell assets or borrow money from friends to buy one, knowing they’ll be able to pay the money back with profits from the crops they raise. Fisher and Moon want to expand ApproTEC throughout Africa. “These pumps are transforming lives, moving farmers from a life of poverty into the middle class,” says Fisher.

Inderjit Khurana -
Teachers Teach Poor Children at Train Stations
India is home to nearly half a billion children, many of whom live in extreme poverty. The Indian government has not been able to find a way to educate children who spend their days begging, stealing and selling their bodies to survive. Inderjit Khurana, a teacher in a town 300 miles south of Calcutta, noticed that the children of the slums spend their days begging on the train platforms, rather than going to school. So she decided that if the children couldn’t come to school, she’d bring the school to them. With teachers to guide and care for them, the children develop hope for their future. Because the government refuses to help her, Khurana has to rely on charitable donations to raise the $12,000 a year that funds all 12 schools she now operates.

NEW HEROES UPDATE: Donors contributions and pledges to this project totaled $120,625! The original project funding goal was $120,000, and as a result this project is now in implementation.

Dr. V and David Green -
Affordable Eye Surgery Prevents Blindness in India
Southern India has one of the highest rates in the world of unnecessary blindness caused by cataracts. And, as a saying in that desperately poor region goes, “the blind man is a mouth without hands.” Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, an eye surgeon better known as Dr. V, founded a hospital specializing in cataract surgery based on a combination of Eastern spiritualism and Western capitalism. A young American businessman named David Green who met Dr. V realized that the high cost of buying lenses from commercial manufacturers – at $300 a piece – was limiting the number of patients the doctor could assist. Surmounting tremendous obstacles, Green built a factory right next to Dr. V’s hospital, where he manufactures lenses for $1 each and sells them for $4. Today, every two paying patients enable Dr. V to do four surgeries for free.

Maria Teresa (“Teté”) Leal -
Women Sew Designer Fashions in Shantytowns of Rio
In Brazil, a women’s sewing cooperative is giving slum dwellers a chance to create clothes seen on fashion runways from Sao Paulo to Milan. As gunfire rages and police helicopters circle, Maria Teresa (“Teté”) Leal’s cooperative offers an oasis of support away from the drug traffickers and the violence that sometimes make the shantytown look like a war zone. Women employed by the cooperative earn more than they would in the local market and are able to contribute to their family’s income while caring for their children at home. “Consumers are really interested to wear something that is promoting a better life for the person who made it,” says Leal, who travels with the women to Sao Paulo to see high-fashion models wear their elegant hand-sewn designs on the runways.

For information on all 12 of the New Heroes, please visit

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The New Heroes is a production of Oregon Public Broadcasting in association with Malone-Grove Productions, Inc. Major funding is provided by the Skoll Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Calvert and the Flora Family Foundation.

funding provided by the skoll foundationThe Skoll Foundation’s mission is to advance systemic change to benefit communities
around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs.

Uncommon Heroes. Common Good.