Craig Kielburger - Wikipedia
by: Craig and Marc KielburgerA decade before the Ebola crisis in West Africa, we We met children who'd been forcibly recruited as soldiers, drugged into Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger founded a platform for social change that Cancelling all flights from west Africa would stop the spread of Ebola. Craig and Marc Kielburger. Grant Faint via Getty Images. The Blog Africa's Booming Population Needs Agricultural Innovation · Craig and Marc Kielburger. Craig & Marc. Craig & Marc · Meet Our Founders · Craig Kielburger · Marc Kielburger · Q&A with Craig and Marc · Book Craig as a . Nairobi arrival; Meet your ME to WE Facilitator; Transfer to your hotel, Karen Blixen at the ME to WE Duka at Bogani; Meet the girls of Kisaruni Girls Secondary School; Enjoy a sunset safari.
The civil war had recently ended and the traumatized nation was beginning to rebuild. We made small talk with staffers from other international charities, asking what kind supplies they awaited.
Craig Kielburger – children’s rights leader
Their answers left us speechless. We're shipping out," said one who was especially dejected, their charity's resources depleted. But Sierra Leone needed long-term attention back then, and this time around, once the world beats back Ebola, this beleaguered nation will need help rebuilding its future.
Civil war had crippled Sierra Leone. We met children who'd been forcibly recruited as soldiers, drugged into compliance and ordered to commit brutal acts.
We watched a playground of students scatter in fear at the loud bang of a book hitting the ground, mistaking it for gunfire. Schools, health systems, social networks and psyches were in tatters.
But Canadian children never abandoned Sierra Leone. Since the war, their small but determined efforts have raised funds to build 35 schoolrooms in Kono district -- educating students a day. Two clean water projects have been built; an animal husbandry program with goats and chickens provides steady income for over families. On our multiple visits to the region we've seen the life-changing impact of these young Canadians' attention.
Kono's junior high school has a science lab, library and playground, plus sports days and music, dance and literary clubs -- subjects never considered during the violence more than a decade ago. Students distribute leaflets about children's rights and mosquito nets to fight malaria in a country with the world's fifth-highest prevalence of the killer disease.
These promising examples don't diminish the massive challenges that Sierra Leone faced before Ebola struck. The country remains in the bottom five of the United Nations' Human Development Index with a life expectancy under 46 years. But there was hope. And children had dreams.
On our last visit, before Ebola struck, we met young people who define resilience. Sarah Karim sees the scars of civil war on her way to school every day, and her single mother buys charcoal in the surrounding villages and resells to provide for her four children. Yet because Sarah is in school, the teen still dared to envision "a good job, sustainable income, loving family and peaceful community.
Indeed, this worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history has been abetted by a critical lack of health infrastructure -- and we can't help but think back to that day on the dock. Would today's headlines be different if those aid shipments had been coming in for the long haul instead of going out to the next crisis zone? The global community is admirably directing attention and resources-- though still not yet enough --to towards West Africa for the struggle against Ebola.
Like a decade ago, the goal is to end the Ebola crisis and allow a nation to begin its recovery. Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger founded a platform for social change that includes the international charity, Free The Children, the social enterprise, Me to We, and the youth empowerment movement, We Day.
Ebola isn't contagious until symptoms beginand it spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of patients. It is not, from what we know of the science so far, an airborne virus. So contact with the patient's sweat, blood, vomit, feces or semen could cause infection, and the body remains infectious after death.
But the laughter soon turned to curiosity and, when he began to speak, to admiration. According to the International Labour Organization, there are more than million working children.
When he finished, the audience rose to their feet, wildly clapping their hands. That gesture was soon matched by many of the other organizations present. He was 12 years old. For six years, Iqbal worked 12 hour days, six days a week, tying the tiny knots that make up the expensive Pakistani carpets coveted by tourists.
Iqbal lived under the constant threat of being beaten with sticks or metal tools. When he was 10, he escaped with the help of a human rights organization that later sent him to school.
He traveled to many countries, speaking out against child labor. But in12 year-old Iqbal was murdered.
His mother remains convinced that the carpet factory owner had a hand in his killing. It was soon forgotten by both the mainstream media and its readers. Craig Kielburger was searching through a Toronto newspaper for the comics when a photo of Iqbal caught his eye.
What he saw reflected back at him were profound differences between the two.
- Craig Kielburger – children’s rights leader
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With the dawning realization that slavery was still very much in existence, Kielburger photocopied the article on Iqbal Masih and gathered statistics on child labor at the local library. With all the idealism and zeal of youth, he spoke to his class about what he had learned, and his crusade against child labor had begun. We passed around a couple of petitions to political leaders and heads of corporations. Then, a few of us gave speeches in schools and for religious and community groups, and it just began to snowball from there.
The petition and the letter were sent to India in a shoebox wrapped in brown paper. Satyarthi was eventually released. During a subsequent trip to Canada, he recalled the box that had been sent to India in his name: Today, overchildren in 27 countries - including Canada, the US, Mexico, India, Brazil, Ghana, and Pakistan - have been involved in FTC activities, and the organization receives thousands of letters each week from children who want to get involved.
Kielburger dipped into his savings and pooled money from his allowance and from doing odd jobs around the neighborhood to purchase his plane ticket. He enlisted Alam Rahman, a 25 year-old friend from Bangladesh, to go along as his chaperone, and he set up meetings with human rights groups in the countries he would be visiting.