HONOREE Craig Kielburger

“Many adults don’t think of youth as having a role to play in issues of social justice, assuming that we have little to contribute. I have learned, however, that with determination, young people can make their voices heard. I see no reason why today’s youth cannot be today’s leaders.”
In 2002, World of Children honored Craig Kielburger with the first Youth Award ever. He was honored for his work as co-founder of Free The Children at the age of 12, fighting against child labor in third-world countries. In 2012, we honored him again as the recipient of our 15th Anniversary Achievement Award. He used our funding to support the nutritional, educational and medical needs of children living in the small village of Sikirar, Kenya. See the impact >>

Craig Kielburger first became a spokesperson for children’s rights when he was 12 years old. Searching for the comics in the local paper, a front-page article caught his attention. He read about a young boy his own age from Pakistan who was sold into bondage as a carpet weaver, escaped and was murdered for speaking out against child labor. Moved by the story, Craig and a group of 50 friends founded Free The Children and began working for the protection of children’s rights by writing letters to political leaders and circulating petitions.

Since 1995, Free The Children has grown into the largest youth empowerment organization in the world, having impacted the lives of more than 1 million young people. Free The Children has built 650 schools that provide education to over 55,000 children every day; distributed 207,000 school and health kits; and provided $16 million of essential medical supplies to benefit 512,000 people. Most importantly, hundreds of thousands of children and young people have become agents of positive social change in their schools and communities.

Most recently, Craig launched the Me to We campaign, working to transform young people into world activists through volunteer trips, leadership training programs and a self-written book that discusses how to bring about positive social change. For more information about Free The Children and Me to We, please visit www.freethechildren.com or www.metowe.com.

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