Razia Jan is fighting to educate girls in rural Afghanistan, where terrorists will stop at nothing to keep them from learning.
Despite the threat of violence, Jan continues to open the doors of her Zabuli Education Center. She and her team are providing a free education to about 350 girls, many of whom would not normally have access to school.
CNN asked Jan for her thoughts on being chosen as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012.
CNN: Where were you when you got the call that you'd been selected as a top 10 CNN Hero?
Razia Jan: I was in Bamiyan (an Afghan town northwest of Kabul) when I got a call in my room.
I could not believe my ears. I started to cry, then I felt a great joy, and I started to laugh. I started to jump up and down.
It is the greatest honor to be among these selfless human beings.
Leo McCarthy gives college scholarships to teenagers who pledge not to drink while they're underage.
In 2007, McCarthy lost his 14-year-old daughter, Mariah, when an underage drunken driver hit her and two of her friends as they walked down a sidewalk near her home in Butte, Montana.
Through McCarthy's nonprofit, Mariah's Challenge, more than 140 teenagers have received $1,000 scholarships.
CNN asked McCarthy for his thoughts on being chosen as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012.
CNN: What do you hope this recognition will mean for Mariah's Challenge?
McCarthy: It's a very quiet sense of pride for this town. We have such a hard history of living here. ... (We use) the term "Butte tough." Now, it's more about character and strength, about growing old and helping our youth to grow old.
Diane Latiker lives in a dangerous neighborhood where people hide in their homes, but she's not afraid to go outside and confront the problem. "We're losing a generation to violence," she says.
The mother of eight and grandmother of 13 was once a high school drop out who turned her life around and earned her GED. She didn't want her own children to go down the wrong path.
In 2003, Latiker started a program called Kids Off the Block (KOB) to give the youth in Chicago a chance to escape the gang influence and a safe place where they could focus on the future.
She welcomed them into her home and told them they could find refuge there 24/7. The group grew from 10 to 75. Seeing the success of the organization, Latiker left her job as a cosmetologist to put all her time toward KOB.
For their extraordinary efforts to help change the world and better the lives of others, 10 everyday people will receive $50,000 and a chance for much more.
This select group - the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012 - was revealed Thursday.
All the top 10 were nominated by CNN's global audience and profiled earlier this year on CNN. They will be honored at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," a globally broadcast event that airs live December 2 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
At the tribute show, hosted by Anderson Cooper in Los Angeles, one of the top 10 will be named CNN Hero of the Year and receive an additional $250,000 to continue their work.
Los Angeles (CNN) – Robin Lim, an American woman who has helped thousands of poor Indonesian women have a healthy pregnancy and birth, was named the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year on Sunday night.
Through her Yayasan Bumi Sehat health clinics, "Mother Robin," or "Ibu Robin" as she is called by the locals, offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid in Indonesia, where many families cannot afford care.
"Every baby's first breath on Earth could be one of peace and love. Every mother should be healthy and strong. Every birth could be safe and loving. But our world is not there yet," Lim said during "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and recognized Lim and the other top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011.
Watch four days of production building the new CNN Heroes stage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, hosted by Anderson Cooper, is live tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
Editor's note: Watch CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, hosted by Anderson Cooper, live on Sunday, December 11 at 8 p.m. ET.
Each of the Top 10 CNN Heroes, whose profiles are available to view at www.cnnheroes.com, received a $50,000 grant for being named as this year’s honorees. One of 2011 CNN Heroes will be named the “CNN Hero of the Year” live on the tribute show, as voted by fans across the globe, and will receive an additional $250,000 grant to further aid their charitable work. During the live broadcast, the Top 10 CNN Heroes will each have his or her story told by a celebrity. CNN is proud to announce additional celebrity presenters and participants including:
• Jerry Seinfeld, Stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and television and film producer
• George Lopez, entertainer and long-time supporter of CNN Heroes, will be introducing Hometown Heroes, showing viewers what you can do to be a hero in your very own backyard
• Sofia Vergara, Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG-nominated actress
• Mary-Louise Parker, Award winning actress, Showtime’s Weeds and supporter of Hope North Uganda
• Ice Cube, Rapper, actor, screenwriter and producer
• Laura Dern, Golden Globe Award winning Actress and star of HBO’s Enlightened
• Chris Colfer, Golden Globe winner, two-time Emmy nominee, SAG nominee, and star of Fox’sGlee, will be presenting to youths who are being recognized and honored by CNN as “Young Wonders.”
• Emma Roberts, Actress, will be presenting to youths who are being recognized and honored by CNN as “Young Wonders.”
Designer Nate Berkus shares his experience as a victim of a tsunami and his personal connection to the Red Cross. Watch CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, hosted by Anderson Cooper, live on Sunday, December 11 at 8 p.m. ET.
Actress Kristin Chenoweth shares the inspiration behind Maddie's Corner, her organization that supports shelter animals. Watch CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, hosted by Anderson Cooper, live on Sunday, December 11 at 8 p.m. ET.