"How old do you think that you have to be in order to make a change in the world?"
What would your students answer? Would anyone say "12 years old"?
In the case of Craig Kielburger, 12 years old would be the correct answer. In 1995, a 12 year old boy who was at home reading The Toronto Star, when he came across the story of a 12 year old boy who was murdered in Pakistan. This boy, Iqbal Masih, was murdered because he had been forced to work in a carpet factory since he was four years old. He had begun to fight against child labour and was murdered for speaking out against child labour. The Toronto boy was so angered by the article that he went to school and tried to convince his friends to join him in doing something about it. This boy was Craig Kielburger and he, along with some friends, founded the charity organization Free the Children, to empower youth to make a difference.
Here are two to help you learn more about Craig and Free the Children:
1) a video about Craig Kielburger entitled “It Takes a Child.”
2) a video about "Free the Children"
"Free the Children" focuses on many areas of social justice and activism, including child labour, building schools, and sustainable development. "Me to We" is their charitable organization that aims to make consumers more socially conscious and aware.
Today in Toronto it is WE DAY! What is WE DAY? It is a day for our youth to come together and become empowered to make a difference in our world, to fight against injustice, and to believe in themselves as agents of change both locally and globally. As a teacher who has attended We Day in the past with her students, I can attest to the power and electricity that fills the air. It is truly an inspiring day...our youth learn that they have the power to make a difference and we learn that our future is in good hands.
WE DAY is being live streamed and many schools are actually broadcasting the event to their students. Make sure you watch it to be a witness to such an inspirational day and such motivation in our youth.
Who will be appearing at WE DAY (TORONTO 2012)? The amazing list includes the Kielburger brothers (Craig and Marc), Jennifer Hudson, Nelly Furtado, Al Gore, Hedley, Spencer West, Shawn Desman, Martin Sheen, and Justin Trudeau.
Please visit and support both Free the Children and Me to We. Both websites are filled with teacher and student resources to help you introduce and encourage social justice and social activism in your classrooms.
Why is this so important? "Free The Children is at work in remote and marginalized communities around the world to benefit more than 138,000 people. In this effort, [their] projects are helping to improve the health and quality of life of communities, and allowing more children, especially girls, to attend school" (from www.freethechildren.com).
Still not convinced? Take a few minutes to view some of the footage from past WE DAYs and some of the shameless idealists who have attended before. I dare you to be uninspired...it's impossible!