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Year-End Inspiration. Photo: Jon Hrusa/Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS 

Greetings Friends!

As the USAID family reflects on what inspired us in 2015, we created a special video message. Click here to watch.

Success is measured in many ways. But it is in the smile of a family receiving food vouchers in the West Bank, or in the pride we see in the work of a mother who is thriving despite a disability, that we see the personal impact of the development work we do around the globe.

We've been inspired by the people and communities we've worked in in last year and wanted to share 10 uplifting stories with you. Stories of Peace, Hope, Love, Friendship, Courage. Empowerment, Strength, Power, Determination and Heroism--stories that show what happens when we believe in a world of possibilities for every person on our planet!

Wishing you a wonderful New Year!


Learn more about Jessel and his 'Skate Brothers'

1. Peace

Jessel's hometown in Honduras has been called "the murder capital of the world." At 16, he nearly died when he was shot by a gang member. That's when he turned his life around -- now, Jessel runs a group that promotes peace through some unorthodox ways -- most of them on 4 wheels! Learn more about Jessel and his 'Skate Brothers.'

Photo by Thomas Christofoletti for USAID
Hope. Photo 

by Thomas Christofoletti for USAID
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2. Hope

Until recently, three in every 100 babies in Nepal died before they were 28 days old, often from preventable infections. Why? Because, a newborn's umbilical cord was traditionally cut with dirty tools and then rubbed with turmeric or cow dung. But a simple, low-cost antiseptic gel is changing this. Read more about how Jharana is changing minds and saving lives.
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3. Love

Osama is a proud West Bank strawberry farmer. His love for his family motivates everything he does, including his strawberry business. Maybe that's why his fruits are some of the best around. Or maybe it's the USAID program that has brought him modern tools. Either way, it's a great story. Read more about Osama and his delectable fruit.
Love. Photo: 

Bobby Neptune for USAID

Photo: Thomas Cristofoletti for USAID
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4. Friendship

Secretary of State John Kerry recently said: "The tragedy of conflict falls most heavily on the smallest shoulders." Raghad is a 14-year-old girl from near Homs, Syria, who has found safety - and friendship - in one of the thousands of Jordanian classrooms that serve as a refuge for Syrian students, helping them recover and begin again.
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5. Courage

Standing up to a culture that doesn't accept you takes courage. But that's what Tania, a transgender activist in Colombia is doing. Along the Caribbean coast, trans people often face discrimination and violence. It takes guts, but Tania will stop at nothing to defend and protect the rights of all people. Read Tania's story here. .

Photo: Thomas Christofoletti for USAID
Empowerment. Photo: Bobby Neptune for USAID
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6. Empowerment

Much of Neimat's time -- and money -- goes to caring for her diabetic mother. But a small cash transfer on an electronic voucher card is helping Neimat cover her family's basic food needs. The voucher works just like a credit card, allowing her to hold her head high and shop with dignity. Now that's empowerment. Read more about Neimat.
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7. Strength

Malnutrition is a stealthy killer, sapping the bodies and minds of millions of children around the world each year. Strong women like Hapsatou are fighting malnutrition in rural Senegal. She does everything she can to ensure her community's children grow up healthy and strong. The results have been transformational -- strength, delivered. Read more about Hapsatou.

Photo: Morgana Wingard for USAID

Photo: Morgana Wingard for USAID
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8. Power

Across rural Tanzania, just one in 10 people have access to electricity. Mothers deliver babies in the dark; torches and lamps flirt with disaster in huts made of trees and mud. But that's changing. The Power Africa project is powering villages across Africa. Read more about how Teresia is 'Turning on the Light.'
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9. Determination

A victim of childhood polio, Zubeida is one of millions of women with disabilities across India. These women often experience mental and physical abuse. But today, Zubeida is advocating for her rights. But don't take our word for it, take hers: "I am a woman. I am disabled. I can do anything. That is my right." Read more about Zubeida.
Determination. Photo: Dave Cooper for USAID

Photo: Morgana Wingard for USAID
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10. Heroism

At USAID, we know heroes. But maybe nowhere was this more evident than during the recent Ebola response. The Ebola crisis impacted families and communities in three West African nations. But from this heartbreak, we've seen stories of unparalleled courage, and of course, heroics. Read more about these heroes.