When did children become commodities?

Recently I went to see a docu drama done by a bunch of students at MPSJ, my little sister participated in it, for Free The Children. I should have written this the very same night I saw it considering the impact it made on me and I’m sure the majority of the people sitting in that auditorium. My next few posts will be dedicated to those that have no voice, no rights, no say about their futures, their lives, their destiny.

Some of the images and facts that I will post will be disturbing but it’s the cruel reality. I feel like I need to explain why I am doing this. It might seem hypocritical for some because me writing these posts doesnt necessarily mean that I am giving the $1/day to feed a child, or that I am volunteering my time to go and lay down a foundation to build a new school or new health centre. Dont get me wrong…I would love nothing more….and as stupid as it seems saying this, especially after seeing some of the things I’ve seen, I can’t. We are so accustomed to our way of life that we are not willing to sacrifice some of what we have for someone that needs it more. 

In writing these posts I am hoping to inspire even if it is ONE person to go out and do something meaningful and possibly life altering for someone else and for themselves. We forget the selfish self satisfaction we feel after performing good deeds. It would be nice if we could do a selfless act of kindness and not get gassed by the kudos and praises you will receive for what you’ve done. 

Free The Children was founded by 12-year-old Craig Kielburger in 1995 when he gathered 11 school friends to begin fighting child labour.
In April 1995, looking for the comics section of his local newspaper, 12-year-old Craig Kielburger came across an article which forever changed his life. The piece featured the photo of a boy in a bright red vest, his fist clenched defiantly in the air, Intrigued, Craig read the story of Iqbal Masih, a young boy from Pakistan, who was sold into slavery to work in a carpet factory. 

Iqbal worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, tying tiny knots to make hand-made carpets for export. Through luck and bravery, he managed to escape from his life of captivity and began speaking out about children’s rights; educating eager listeners about child labour. Tragically, after reuniting with his family, Iqbal was shot and killed by those who wished to silence him. Iqbal lost his life for defending the rights of children. 

Before he read Iqbal’s story, Craig had never heard of child labour. He wasn’t even certain where Pakistan was, but the differences between his life and that of Iqbal shocked him. Craig knew that he had to help. He gathered together a small group of his Grade 7 classmates and Free The Children was born. 

The following year, in an attempt to focus the world’s attention on the epidemic of global child rights abuses, Craig embarked on an ambitious fact-finding mission to South Asia. In a press conference held in Delhi, India, Craig challenged the world to take notice of the stories and voices of child labourers everywhere. The media buzz that ensued brought the issue of child labour to the forefront of global debate. Craig’s journey, sparked by Iqbal’s heroic tale, proved that young people have the power to make a difference in the world. 

Today, Free The Children is a children’s charity unlike any other in the world. It is an organization funded and driven by the energy of young leaders and adult supporters. In a cooperative effort, we are changing the world. 

So you see, it took one life to change over a million. So like the day that Craig looked for the funnies in the paper maybe someone will stumble on this and make a difference in this shitty world we live in. 

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