We Day is a celebration that fills stadiums with leaders of all ages who earn their entry through volunteerism and philanthropy for 500 causes! The photo above is Vernon Secondary School! They took action last year and won the We Schools photo contest.
In Vancouver this year those who spoke included Magic Johnson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu who is a world-renowned South African social activist, heart throb Cody Simpson, Demi Lovato, and of course Craig and Marc Kielburger.
Less well-known, but no less inspiring, Me to We and Free The Children speaker Molly Burke captivated the audience with her powerful story. “This is our time to lead. And, we need to come together, and find our voice on this issue (of bullying)” Molly said. With a story that clearly resonated deeply with the audience, Molly and her best friend and guide dog Gypsy left the stage to a rousing standing ovation. Molly’s speech was captured by an audience member who I am sure went home with no voice as I would have. I teared up and got shivers throughout her powerful message!
Last month Tracy featured “We Day” which prompted me to have a closer look at co-founder, Craig Kielburger. I had remembered seeing him on the news when he was just a kid of 12 and then later seeing him on Oprah as well.
I was proud to discover he was a fellow Canadian and really impressed by all that he and his brother and friends accomplished at such a young age. Very inspiring!
I wanted to know how it all began for him and then to share his story because I feel this young man should be known to all…especially Canadians.
Here is what I discovered and learned about Craig Kielburger.
In 1995, when he was 12 years old, Craig saw a headline in the Toronto Star that read “Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered.” The accompanying story was about a young Pakistani boy named Iqbal Masih who was forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory at the age of four, became an international figurehead for the fight against child labor by 12 years of age, and was brutally murdered in 1995 at the age of 12.
Angered by the article, Kielburger began researching child labour. He took the article to school, gathered friends his same age and together founded a group called the “Twelve-Twelve-Year-Olds,”. This group would evolve into “Free The Children”, an international organization that has 45 countries participating in helping the world become a better place. In December 1995, Kielburger travelled to Asia with Alam Rahman, a 25-year-old family friend from Bangladesh, to see the conditions for himself.
He and a group of others also successfully lobbied the Canadian and Italian governments to stiffen laws against their nationals who sexually exploit children in developing countries like those in Asia.
Free The Children began to receive international attention. The organization has built over 500 schools and implemented projects in 45 developing countries. On average, 73 percent of the organization’s annual funding comes from funds raised by young people. Awesome!
Here is the young Craig Kielburger at work:
And here is a more recent video of Craig Kielburger taken in 2009, still hard at work.
Thank you for all you do Craig! And for inspiring so many of us, young and old.
Marc and Craig Kielburger, founders of Free The Children’sWe Day, came to Vancouver last Thursday to join forces with students from B.C who are all leaders in their own communities! Participants included Al Gore, Martin Sheen, Hedley, Ethan Zohn from Survivor, Colbie Caillat, Rick Hanson, Spencer West, Phillippe Cousteau, and Reverend Jesse L. Jackson! What an inspiration! It’s never too early to get involved and never to late to be inspired! These guys are inspiring our youth of today to stand up, speak out and believe that they too can make a difference, NOW!
“It’s more than just one day of celebration and inspiration. It’s a one-of-a-kind event and part of an innovative year-long program created to celebrate the power of young people to create positive change in the world.
The event kicks off a year-long program of action, called We Schools in Action. We Day is free of charge and open to any school that wants to be part of the experience. In exchange, each school group that attends is asked to make a commitment to follow the We Schools in Action program, which includes taking local and global action throughout the year.
Since 2007, youth from across North America have come together to discover the passion they have in common, to celebrate their successes, to become aware of new challenges, and to build lasting friendships. The We Day events feature speeches and performances from global leaders and social activists, cultural icons and entertainers.” Quoted directly from the We Day website! Enjoy!