Craig awoke sleepily on a brisk morning in 1995 in the neighbourhood of Thornhill, Ontario and started getting ready for the day. Just before before leaving for school he picked up a newspaper and was shocked to his core by the title plastered on the front page. Iqbal Masih; a twelve year old boy in Pakistan and former slave who had escaped his owners and was fighting for the freedom and rights of children, was killed. So moved and touched by the article and Iqbal’s efforts, he presented to the class that very same day and got volunteers to form a group called ‘Kids can free the children’. The group started out as a team of volunteers but soon turned into a global movement that encourages youth to make a difference.
Now 22 years later, Craig Kielburger is still the voice of Free the children (although is now known as WE Charity) as well as Me to We. Making a significant global impact, these organizations (and volunteers) have raised more than 45 million dollars bringing education and sustainability to communities in India, Haiti, Kenya, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Rural China. More importantly, the We movement has inspired, educated and mobilized youth from around the world to become more socially, economically and environmentally aware. This is the main aspect that I will be exploring and displaying throughout my blogs, speech, and learning centre.
What drew me to Craig is also why I connect with him. Craig started out as a kid (like me), living in Canada (like me), and started with an idea and a passion. Craig often talks about how in the past he wasn’t given a chance to prove himself and participate simply because he was too young. In my sports life, I can definitely say I have been affected by “seniority” in multiple ways and can connect with trying to overcome people’s perceptions and beliefs about what I am capable of and how I can contribute.
Something that may be challenging for me during this project is matching the level of passion, motivation, and commitment to helping others that Craig demonstrated when he was my age. While I may not go on to make a worldwide organization, I still think I will be able emulate his passion into other things I do such as sports and school as well as when I have the opportunity to help others.
I really appreciated our trip to the Vancouver Public Library as I discovered multiple books, all by Mr. Kielburger. These are an extremely valuable resource because now I not only have a reliable resource but the most reliable resource possible, information in the words of Craig himself.
To make these organizations into existence, Craig had to be a good leader. It just so happens that one of my goals this year is to – Practice and improve my ability to know when to take initiative and when to step back and listen, also known as, being a good leader.
WE Day (part of WE Charity) is a celebration of young people making a difference in the world. I had the opportunity to go this year as a great way to not only become inspired but also kick off my project. After a day of music and speeches from people such as Hedley, Grace Vanderwaal, Silken Laumenn, and Craig Kielburger himself, I really wanted to share some of the thinks on my mind.
Click the link below to watch my WE Day Reflection Video:
All in all, I am super excited to be sharing and learning about Craig Kielburger as well as hearing and answering all of your questions about him. Stay tuned for much more to come.