It is hard to change the world, some people might say. But for young minds like Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, St Thérèse of Lisieux making the world a better place to live in is actually possible. Age simply doesn’t matter if you want to create a huge impact on the environment and on other people’s lives. To prove this point, there is a long list of children who have successfully made a huge difference through their remarkable actions.
Be inspired and moved by these innocent and hopeful young ones who made an impressive and exceptional mark in their generations. Their accomplishments will surely change your outlook in life.
1. “Children should have pens in their hands not tools” – Iqbal Masih
Iqbal is a brave and eloquent Pakistani boy who made a big contribution and global impact on child slavery. Through his encouraging speeches, he brought awareness to uneducated slave laborers about their human rights and freedom. At the age of 12, he became a prominent leader of a movement that fight against child labor in Pakistan.
2. “Every child has the right to live and that is the right for life.” – Thandiwe Chama
Thandiwe is a young activist from Zambia who is known for her efforts in actively promoting the rights of children to be educated. She firmly believes that education is for everyone. All children have the right to be heard and should have access to educational opportunities. Apart from her advocacy that education is for all, she is also active in speaking to churches about AIDS.
3. “We are normal. We are human beings. We can walk, we can talk…. We have needs just like everyone else. We are all the same.”- Nkosi Johnson
Nkosi was a South African kid who was born with HIV-positive disease. His situation didn’t hinder him to become an inspiration and tell the world to fight against AIDS. In fact, he became a speaker in the International AIDS conference reminding people to be open and have an equal treatment to AIDS victims.
4. “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”- Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a Pakistani teenager who is very outspoken about girls basic rights to education. She’s known for being a women and children’s right activist. Despite of death threats from Taliban, she refused to be silenced. After surviving the assassination attempt, she became a spokesperson for human rights and education.
5. “I want them to realize that they are never too young to make change.” – Dylan Mahalingam
Dylan is a young philanthropist and social activist who became famous when he found Lil’ MDGs when he was barely 9 years of age. It is a non-profit organization that aims to empower children and youth to work together towards the Millennium development goals. Dylan has been working with various children all around the world and resolving issue that includes hunger, poverty, education, gender equality, environmental sustainability, so on and so forth.
6. “You grown-ups say you love us, but I challenge you to make your actions reflect your words.” -Severn Suzuki
At the age of nine, Severn founded the ECO or the Environmental Children’s Organization, a group of children committed to learn and teach other kids about environmental issues. She’s been actively participating to variety of environmental projects and speaking to many schools, conference, and international meetings. When she was 12 years old she attended the Earth Summit and gave a speech to the delegates. After that she became well-known as The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes.
7. “AIDS can destroy a family if you let it, but luckily for my sister and me, Mom taught us to keep going. Don’t give up, be proud of who you are, and never feel sorry for yourself. ” – Ryan White
Ryan is an American teenage boy who had contracted with AIDS through blood transfusions when he was 13 years old. Aside from his struggle with his illness, Ryan has to faced enormous pressure and judgment from people around him. During the short course of his life, he helped in educating people about AIDS and it resulted for a good cause. The Government passed the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Care (CARE) Act, a program that provides health care resources to Americans with HIV/AIDS who have no sufficient health care and financial resources.
8. “Hope is real, peace is possible, and life is worthy!” – Mattie Stepanek
Mattie is a boy poet and profound thinker who has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. In his brief lifespan, Mattie became an inspiration to many because of “Heartsongs”, his poetry collections, and his NY bestselling books that touched tons of people’s lives. He spent his remaining years on earth being an advocate for hope, peace, and people with disabilities.
9. “You can make a difference in the world, but only if you really try hard and really want to. Just pick a dream and then go for it. Oh, and never give up!” – Ryan Hreljac
Ryan was only 6 years old when he decided to help people in Africa to have clean water by building a well in a village. He began raising money for water and sanitation projects for people affected by global water crisis. Because of his perseverance and determination to help, he successfully built his first well in a primary school in Uganda. He didn’t stop there. Now, he continues to raise money to support water sources through his organization, Ryan’s Well Foundation.
10. “I think it is important to have something to strive for. By planting a garden or just some seeds in a pot you can make a difference.” – Katie Stagliano
Katie is a young gardener and an anti-hunger activist. When she was 9, she donated her 40 pound cabbage to a local soup kitchen and it helped feed more than 200 people. After that, her dream to help people fight against hunger was born. She started a vegetable garden and donate the harvest to the needy.
These kids came from different backgrounds and they all became good role models to humanity. They know their rights and they have brave hearts to speak their minds out to fight for what they think is right. Their simple acts only reminds us that no one is never too young or old to make a difference.
Featured photo credit: Little Girl in Amusement Park BY VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com