On the larger scale of life, how much do you think we inspire people to create a better world? How much do we pay attention to what’s happening around us and see it as a sign of opportunities to help?
For Craig Kielburger, the founder of Free the Children and co-founder of From Me to We, every second has the potential to bring kindness, to redefine happiness and success and to virtually change his life and the lives of everyone else around him.
In front of an audience of hundreds, gathered for the annual Excellence in Leadership Dinner organized by the Leadership Windsor Essex, Craig not only shared his story but he also shared his gift: inspiring young people, children and adults to find their ‘spark’ and give the ‘gift’ of compassion and caring.
Craig explained to the audience -many of them young students – how his ‘spark’ was the headline that led him to a story about a 12-year-old Pakistani named Iqbal Masih who was forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory at the age of four, became an international figurehead for the fight against child labor and was brutally murdered in 1995 at the age of 12.
“I looked at my life and I looked at his life…. It made me angry,” he said.
He then found the courage to read the story to his Grade 7 class that morning at school and asked his classmates to help join him in what would eventually become Free the Children, the world’s largest youth-driven charity.
“Eleven hands went up, and that’s how we started,” he said.
Over the past 15 years, the organization has built more than 650 schools in 45 countries, enabling more than 55,000 kids to educate themselves.
“Find your spark,” he said. “If you think I’m idealistic and simplistic with this equation, well – idealistic, simplistic, this is how we started Free the Children.”