A Scouts Promise changed the world
Marc Wiseman

A Scouts Promise changed the world

When young Craig Kielburger first took his Scout Promise at the age of eleven in 1994 he stood alone in front of his peers. With his family looking on, he raised his hand in the Scout sign and solemnly repeated the same words as tens of millions have done before him. There in the spotlight, Craig believed he was going to do his best – he was going to change the world! Twelve months later true to his Promise and affected by a headline in the Toronto Star, in 1995, that read “Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered.” The accompanying article was about a young Pakistani boy, Iqbal Masih who had been forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory at the age of four but who, by the time he was ten, had escaped and had become an international figurehead for the Bonded Labour Liberation Front only to be brutally murdered in 1995.
 Incensed, committed and motivated by the  story Craig took up the cudgel and first founded a group called the "Twelve-Twelve-Year-Olds” which eventually, against unimaginable obstacles, bureaucratic intransigence, negativity, and denial became "Free The Children", a leading well-known international organization with projects in 45 countries. And, in addition to agitating against child labour, Free The Children has been responsible for building more than 500 schools which educate over 50,000 students EVERY DAY!
   In May 2008, Kielburger, with his brother, Marc Kielburger appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the USA to launch the "O Ambassadors" project. A year later the brothers launched “We Day”  and later “Me to We Day” both of these events raise money and awareness and which enables “Free The Children” to remain self- sustaining while increasing its outreach.
 However, it was Scouting which helped him to remain focussed when: “ People put us down as being young and dreamers, which I frankly find encouraging. It is the dreamers who thought one day the Berlin Wall would fall or that apartheid in South Africa would end.”
Craig’s efforts were formally recognised by the Governor General of Canada when, on behalf of the nation, in 2007, he was awarded the honour of the “Order of Canada”. Craig Kielburger is a member of the National Board of Scouts Canada the Movement that he says gave him the courage, commitment and purpose to start this quest and remain true to his Scout Promise which started him on his road to making the world a better place when he was just eleven years old! World Scout Foundation
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