Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Something as Important as Changing the World Can't Be Left to Grownups
We know the world is in dire straits. Fortunately, kids aren't waiting for adults to address the problems. They're taking charge and creating change. News stories about youth changemakers appear almost daily. And more children are ready to learn how to be leaders in creating a better world.
Showing them examples of young changemakers in action is one way to inspire.
Recently 60 Minutes aired a profile of Craig Kielburger & the work of his organization, Free the Children, touching on how Craig got his start as an activist as a 12-year-old who read about the death of former child slave, Iqbal Masih.
Craig says: "In an era where adults are often looking for meaning and purpose in their lives, kids also want to assert who they are, not just by the video games they play or the peer groups they belong to, but by the contribution they make, and that's part of a youth self-identity in the world. And not only is it good for the child; my god our world needs it."
Free the Children inspires and empowers kids to help kids around the world and in their own communities. In the interview, Craig also shares what he and his organization have learned over the years, including from the failures. One of the lowest moments, he notes, was when they met children in southeast Asia, whom they had freed before, back in slavery.
What kept him going? On the first trip he took, he promised those children he would share their stories with whomever would listen. "And when you make a promise you have to fulfill it." And now Craig's organization is involved with 45 countries and bringing in $30 million/year to build schools, provide clean water, and connect local craftspeople to world markets. Free the Children has about 2 million volunteers worldwide, nearly all under 18.
As Craig says, "If you give kids the inspiration, and the tools to change the world, it'll change their own lives also in the process, and the ripple effect is incredible."
When asked whether contributions of kids (including monetary contributions) add up to much, Craig said:
"Pennies are almost like kids. People walk past pennies all the time, ignore them, think they're insignificant, kind of like kids. You don't really think twice - can they really make a difference? But when you bring enough young people, enough kids together, then suddenly those kids can change the world."
Show this interview to adults and children alike to inspire them to tap into their own strengths and passions, so that they can do their part to become solutionaries for a humane world for all.
Like our blog? Please share it with others, comment, and/or subscribe to the RSS feed.