Craig Kielburger


Fighting to end child labour since he was 12 years old.
SuperKind - Social Action and Philanthropy in Schools - Star

One normal April morning, 12-year-old Craig Kielburger picked up the newspaper from the breakfast table and flicked through to find the comic section. But this day, a headline, ‘Battled child labour, boy 12, killed,’ caught his attention. Craig read on. He learnt of the story of Iqbal Masih, who died fighting for kids to be freed from child labour.

Craig Kielburger
Craig Kielburger

Craig was shocked. He sat at a breakfast table in Canada, where he and his family lived in safety, with access to medical care, food and a nice house, whilst other children were working long hours in factories with poor working conditions. Craig wanted to do something about this so that no others would suffer the same fate as Iqbal.

So he picked up the phone and called as many anti-child labour organisations as he could find, asking how he could help. They told Craig he was only a child and a child could not make a difference. Craig decided to prove them wrong. He started a movement for young people to fight child labour. And 24 years later, the WE movement he started has over four million supporters.

‘Change starts within each one of us.’ 
-Craig Kielburger

Craig found a cause he cared about and fought to create change. He says, ‘Change starts within each one of us.’ These are Craig’s three tips for young people taking on child labour:

  1. Study up. Visit websites or hit the local library for books on child labour. You have to know the issue before you can make your actions count. Find out what causes it, who benefits from the system and who suffers. Talk to other people about what you’ve learned. 
  2. Think global, act local. If the issue seems overwhelming, start small and start at home. Find out where your clothes are made and by whom. Learn about the manufacturer’s commitment and efforts to eliminate child labour from its supply chain. Explore the effects of poverty in your own community—how they are similar or different to issues overseas. Volunteer at a local food bank or shelter.
  3. Gift + issue = change. The biggest changes happen when young leaders apply their talents and passions for the causes they care about. What gets you up in the morning? Sports? Singing? Organise a charity music showcase or baseball tournament.’
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