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After hearing how she spent her 9th birthday, it's no wonder she's being recognized globally.

Most kids are all about playing with their toys, but Neha Gupta gave hers away. You could say that decision paid off.

After hearing how she spent her 9th birthday, it's no wonder she's being recognized globally.
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Microsoft Office

Neha Gupta is pretty remarkable.

When she was young, her grandparents introduced a super-cool way to celebrate birthdays in their family.


"My grandparents, in India, had a tradition that if it was someone's birthday in the family, they would go to a local orphanage and celebrate their birthday there — get gifts and bring them to the kids."

So, when Neha turned 9, she decided to do something really brave that most kids would probably freak out about.

"It was when I was 9, that I felt that it was my responsibility to help these kids. I took all of my toys that I had, and I sold them. And I realized that, if I can raise so much money from one event, imagine the things that I could do if I kept going."

Her fearless decision to sell her toys sparked something bigger. Neha started Empower Orphans, her very own nonprofit that helps to empower orphans by providing them with education and resources to amp up their tech skills. And although she's young, she's confident of her mighty vision.

"This is our time to stand up and let our voices be heard. It is our time to be the igniters of change ...
I am a strong believer in the power of youth helping other youth. ... I want to grow it into an organization that supports the education of children around the world, and we need people's help for that. We want people to act as our ambassadors, spread the word, do their fundraisers, and implement projects in their own communities."

Neha's big dreams and bold actions have already brought in some impressive cash. Empower Orphans has raised $1.69 million and counting! She was also awarded the 2014 Children's Peace Prize for all of her fabulous work. Go, Neha!

To hear her story firsthand, check out the video below.

If you're inspired by Neha's story, visit the Empower Orphans website to learn more.

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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