October 9th, 2008
03:26 PM ET

CNN HERO: This allows me to show how important education is for AIDs orphans

Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly four thousand submissions from 75 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

A Global Celebration: Thanksgiving Night at 9p ET


Marie Da Silva, a Los Angeles nanny, helps fund a school in her native Malawi for orphans of AIDS.
Marie Da Silva, a Los Angeles nanny, helps fund a school in her native Malawi for orphans of AIDS.

Marie Da Silva | MY STORY

I received the call from the CNN producer on my cell phone when I was walking down the street in Santa Monica. When he told me I had been selected as a winner, I was screaming and crying on the street. People stopped to look at me. A lady came up to me to ask me if I was alright. I told her I was happy.

I could not believe it because just a few hours later, that very same day, I was on my way to Malawi to open the new secondary schoolblock we have just finished building.

I am very honored to be among many great heros of 2008. This award allows me to put the spotlight on the AIDS orphans of Malawi and show the world how education is important for them.

The school I have built will house 160 AIDS orphans who were unable to go to secondary school and graduate to go to university. Education opens doors to a better future for them.

I am very thankful for this recognition as it has helped me provide what I truly believe in. Thank you, CNN Heroes.

Filed under: CNN Heroes
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Damaris, Washington DC

    First of all, thank you Anderson Cooper for such wonderful stories. There is so much beauty and compassion in America that goes unnoticed. The media is such a powerful agent that has been misused in meaningless and sometimes biased stories. Thus, I am delighted that time and effort has been taken to report real news by real people. These stories have reinforced my belief that everyone can make a difference. Secondly, I want to give special thanks to Marie Da Silva. Her work is phenomenal and inspiring. Wow, today is indeed a beautiful day.

    October 31, 2008 at 9:37 am |
  2. karen nation

    This is so awesome, what caring people can do, thanks CNN and Anderson Cooper. I know it's too late to submit my hero, but is it too early to submit for next year.
    In so much uncertainty and dispair, when wallstreet fat cat (CEO) are getting fatter and don't care, it's good to know that there are good people still out there.

    October 10, 2008 at 12:19 am |
  3. ,Barbara-Dalton Ga

    I hope 360 will do a profile on each of the 10. Your network should
    be commented for doing this, we at our house find it amazing what
    can be done with so little. Just think how much more could be accomplished if we could just motivate 1 group in each community
    to tackle an issue.

    October 9, 2008 at 4:07 pm |

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