An illustrated portrait of Marie Da Silva

Marie Da Silva

Born and raised in Malawi, Marie Da Silva worked as a nanny in the U.S. for nineteen years. During this time she lost many members of her family to the AIDS pandemic. In 2002 after realizing the school in her home village in Malawi was going to close and seeing firsthand the devastation AIDS had wrought in her home village, she founded the Jacaranda School for Orphans in her childhood home. For the next nine years, Marie supported the school financially by sending a third of her monthly salary to Malawi.

In 2008 Marie was recognized as Top Ten CNN Hero for her dedication to orphans in Malawi. Among many other awards received for her work, Marie also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the President of Malawi. Today Marie spends most of her time in Malawi at the school and frequently travels abroad for fundraising and speaking engagements.