Olivia N.

St. Catharines, Ontario

Niagara Catholic Regional Fair

Craig Kielburger and Free the Children

The year was 1995, 12-year-old Craig Kielburger founded Free the Children along with 11 of his classmates as they began to fight against child labour. Through the years, Craig’s dream was sparked. The members of Free the Children started to increase. Today, Free the Children is the world’s largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million young people involved in their programs in 45+ countries. The biggest goal for Free the Children is to free the children from poverty, free children from exploitation, and to free the children from the idea that they are powerless to make a change in the world.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I've learned when I was developing my project was that no one in the Board of Directors of Free the Children was over the age of eighteen. This really taught me that it's not only adults that could take charge, it could be children as well.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

Craig Kielburger had speaking problems when he was younger, and was still able to create a great impact on the world. When I first heard about this, it taught me that no matter how old you are or if you have a type of disability, you can still make a big difference. Don't ever give up on your dream.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Craig Kielburger was inspired by young Pakistani boy Iqbal Masih who was chained to a carpet loom tying tiny knots every day. There were many children who were forced to do that at the time and no one knew about it. Today, the percentage of exploitation/poverty and hunger is decreasing. With the millions of organizations in the world, including Free the Children.