Thursday, January 10, 2013

Free the Children

As a 12-year-old in Canada, Craig Kielburger read about a child slave in Pakistan who escaped but was murdered after speaking out against child servitude. Moved to act, Kielburger rounded up 11 friends in his living room, with no money or well-heeled benefactors, to try and fight child labor.

Two decades later, Free the Children is the "world's largest network of kids helping kids," says Kielburger. Engaging 2 million volunteers a year -- almost all under 18 -- it's evolved into a diverse relief and development organization, as leaders have followed logical pathways of problem solving, Watch Kielburger's brother Marc, for instance, talk about why building schools isn't enough to get girls to school in Africa.

Kid volunteers are recruited through schools -- organizing bakes sales, car washes & other fundraisers -- and at celeb-studded "We Days" that gather stadiums full of young students. Some 2,400 a year end up getting so involved that they travel abroad on service projects.

But even something as simple as donating birthday money, a piggy bank's contents, or mere pocket change has an impact.  "That adds up to millions and millions of dollars ...for our projects," Kielburger told "60 Minutes" in November. It's a reminder that kids need not start a charity -- or even a fundraising project -- to help other kids.

"A penny is almost like a kid," he added. "People walk past pennies all the time and ignore them ... Can they really make a difference? But when you bring enough young people, enough kids together, then suddenly those kids can change the world."

No comments:

Post a Comment