Now, to celebrate 10 years of the campaign, CNN is catching up with five past CNN Heroes of the Year to see where they are now and how their work has evolved in the years since they were honored.
Anderson Cooper hosts "CNN SuperHero: Above and Beyond," an hourlong special highlighting these five individuals on Friday, December 9, at 10 p.m. ET on CNN and CNNI.
Each of the past CNN Heroes of the Year recognized in the special will receive $10,000 to continue their work.
Kicking off during Friday's special and continuing into Sunday night's "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute
," viewers will be invited to vote
for the individual whose outstanding work continues to best embody the spirit of the CNN Heroes campaign.
The Hero of the Year who receives the most votes will be awarded $50,000 to continue their work, with the CNN SuperHero announced live during Sunday night's show. Viewers can vote on CNNHeroes.com
, through Facebook Messenger on the CNN Heroes Facebook page
and on Twitter.
So, what have these past CNN Heroes of the Year been up to since they were first honored? Let's find out.
Pushpa Basnet founded the Early Childhood Development Center, or ECDC
, in Kathmandu, Nepal. It provides housing, education, medical services and healthy meals to children forced to live inside Nepal's prisons with their parents, often in dire conditions.
With the money she was awarded as the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year
, Basnet was able to reduce the number of children living in prisons, offer scholarships and purchase land to build a new "butterfly home," as she calls the safe haven run by the ECDC.
Then, in 2015, the unthinkable happened -- just as her new "butterfly home" was nearing completion, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal
, nearly destroying the entire structure. Despite the setback, Basnet and the ECDC have soldiered on. A German charity stepped in and provided the money needed to rebuild the house, and on February 3, 2016, Basnet and her children moved in. Today, the ECDC is stronger than ever and plans to help even more children.
For more information on Pushpa Basnet and to donate to the ECDC, click here
For more than two decades, the health of mothers and their babies has been the focus of CNN Hero of the Year and licensed midwife Robin Lim. Her nonprofit, Bumi Sehat
, was founded in 1995 and in the years since, has helped more than 300,000 patients with a range of medical services in the Philippines and Indonesia. Lim's team also assists with more than 1,000 deliveries each year.
After she was named the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year
, "Mother Robin" used her prize money toward building new clinics in Indonesia and the Philippines. She has also been able to offer training and scholarships and expand her educational programs.
In the wake of the devastating typhoon that struck the Philippines in 2013
, Lim's team was on the ground providing aid in places where health clinics were reduced to rubble. After the storm, Bumi Sehat set up a permanent clinic in the Philippines and continues to respond to areas hit by natural disaster.
For more information on Robin Lim and to donate to Bumi Sehat, click here
After Hurricane Katrina left much of New Orleans under water
, Liz McCartney began helping families rebuild their homes, and hasn't stopped. Since her nonprofit, now called SBP
, was founded in 2006, McCartney and her team have rebuilt nearly 1,200 homes across the U.S.
In the years since McCartney was named the first CNN Hero of the Year, SBP has grown from a small nonprofit into a nationally recognized leader in disaster recovery. Today, SBP is headquartered in the heart of reinvigorated New Orleans, and has grown its mission to shrink time between disaster and recovery. SBP has sent more than 130,000 volunteers to work on over 1,000 projects across America.
This year, McCartney and SBP helped relief efforts after torrential rains swamped more than 20 parishes across Louisiana
, destroying more than 60,000 homes and properties.
For more information on Liz McCartney and to donate to SBP, click here
As a teenager, Efren Peñaflorida was bullied and threatened by gangs in the slums he called home in the Philippines. But instead of resorting to violence, Peñaflorida hoped to engage the other kids through learning.
He stocked four pushcarts with books and school supplies, and along with a team of volunteers, brought his schoolhouse on wheels to Filipino children who had been forced to drop out of school. Since being named the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year, Peñaflorida's nonprofit, Dynamic Teen Company
, has brought education to an estimated 40,000 children around the world.
In 2012, Peñaflorida and his team opened a new solar-powered high school for children who have slipped through the cracks. And, when Typhoon Haiyan decimated parts of the Philippines in 2013
, Efren and his team sprung into action to help some of the hardest hit areas.
For more information on Efren Peñaflorida and to donate to Dynamic Teen Company, click here
For the past two decades, Chad Pregracke has dedicated his life to cleaning up waterways across America. His environmental nonprofit, Living Lands and Waters
, has removed millions of pounds of waste, trash and toxic chemicals from rivers across the United States.
After he was named the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year
, Pregracke opted to split his prize money with the other members of the 2013 CNN Heroes top 10. But, Pregracke says, his involvement with CNN Heroes has furthered his efforts in other ways. Living Lands and Waters has since invested in state-of-the-art technology to assist in their trash removal and to date, Pregracke and his team have cleaned up 23 rivers in 20 states.
Pregracke is also passionate about educating others on the harmful effects of trash on the environment, and has built a floating classroom that teachers and students can board to learn about conservation firsthand.
For more information on Chad Pregracke and to donate to Living Lands and Waters, click here
For more on the 2016 CNN Heroes and to donate to the causes they support, visit CNNHeroes.com