“Sometimes it takes a child to raise a village – or to take down an injustice”- Craig Kielburger.
Table of Contents
Who is Craig Kielburger?
Human rights activist, social entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, columnist, speaker, and co-founder We Charity are just some of the titles used to describe Craig Kielburger. From a young age, he has been making big moves.
Read along to know the story of Craig Kielburger from his younger days as a teen activist to where he is today.
Early Life Of Craig Kielburger
Craig Kielburger was born on 17th December 1982 in Thornhill, Ontario. He has one brother Marc Kielburger who is older than him( Born 1977). Together they are commonly referred to as the Kielburger brothers.
Their parents Fred and Theresa Kielburger were both teachers and real estate investors in Toronto. They played a huge role in supporting Craig in his bid to impact the world.
Craig Kielburger Education
As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world”. Craig was a scholar at the Blessed Scalabrini Catholic School and later joined the Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School in Toronto. His interest to promote human welfare saw him read and research about human rights and those oppressed.
Craig then joined the peace and conflict studies program at the University of Toronto in 2002 and later on joined York University to pursue an MBA program in 2009 where he graduated as the youngest ever to graduate from the program.
Craig Kielburger- Reflections on Working Toward Peace
The Reflection on Working Toward Peace is a famous essay written by Craig Kielburger when he was 16 years old. He passionately accounts for the first time he was triggered to make a change in the world when he read about a case of child labor. He also mentions the founding of Free The Children and lastly calls for people to help eradicate poverty which he states is the number one killer of children in the world. He talks about his dream for the world.
The essay is based on themes around poverty and peace and its purpose is to influence every single person to change the world.
Early Life Of Craig Kielburger
Craig Kielburger co-founded WE Charity with his brother Marc Kielburger and sister-in-law, Roxanne Joyal. WE Charity was initially called Free The Children and was renamed in 2016. The renaming to WE Charity was signified by a change of headquarters from their family home to offices in Toronto, Canada.
One of the main goals of the WE Charity movement is to create local, global, social, and economic developments around the world.
WE Charity was formerly known as Free The Children. When Craig Kielburger was 12 years old, he happened to come across a publication in the Toronto Newspaper which featured a story of a young Pakistani boy who was murdered for speaking against child labor. The child was sold as a slave when he was just 4 years old and happened to escape. He was deeply touched by the story of child laborers and decided to help bring a stop to such inhuman acts.
Craig Kielburger together with his classmates founded Free The Children in 1995, which at first was an initiative to end child labor and to help young people. They made petitions to be signed with the highest having 3000 signatures. They also gave speeches in schools and churches which led to donations of up to $150,000 to help in the movement.
Fred and Theresa Kielburger were really supportive and even funded Craig’s first research trip to Southern Asia in the winter of 1995-1996.
5 Initiatives by WE Charity
ME TO WE.
The ME to WE ( a pioneering social enterprise) initiative was founded by Roxanne Joyal after she visited Kenya and found talented women who made jewelry out of beads but had no market to make a living out of it. ME to WE empowers people to change local communities by creating a social enterprise for them to grow.
Supporting teachers with resources and training sessions and empowering students with skills and opportunities is the main goal of the WE Schools initiative. Through partnering with companies such as Unilever, Microsoft, Dow, and Allstate Foundation, WE School has been able to attain its goals in countries such as Kenya, India, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.
The holistic development model called WE Villages is an initiative that works hand in hand with local authorities of countries to provide basic needs such as water, education, health, and food security to rural communities in Africa and Asia.
The WE Well-being initiative aims to promote the social, physical, and mental well-being of people in marginalized communities through educating them on mental health.
WE Day was an annual event that had thousands of youths from all over the world congregate in a stadium in Canada to receive empowerment regarding global issues. The event was active between 2007 and 2020 but was however called off due to the WE Charity scandal between the Canadian Government and WE Charity.
Click here to donate to WE Charity and help change lives in the world.
Craig Kielburger’s Books and Columns
Craig is a New York Times Bestselling Author who has both authored and co-authored over 20 books. he is also a nationally syndicated columnist.
Some of Craig’s distinct works include:
- Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World– This is the best-selling book that talks about service and community giving practical examples from other philanthropists such as Oprah Winfrey, Desmond Tutu, and Mother Teresa.
- Free the Children: A Young Man Fights Against Child Labor and Proves that Children Can Change The World. – Craig co-authored this book with Kevin Major where he details his trip to Southern Asia and shared lessons learned.
- It Takes A Child– The book portrays Craig’s journey into child labor. It has also been made into a documentary that can be found on Youtube.
Other notable books by Craig Kielburger include:
You can purchase Craig Kielburger’s books on Amazon.
Craig has also written in columns of many magazines, journals, and newspapers such as Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, Victoria Times Columnist, Huffington Post, and Winnipeg Free Press.
Craig Kielburger’s Net Worth (2021)
As of 2021, Craig Kielburger has a net worth of $625,000 with a salary which is estimated to be $125,000 which he is paid by ME to WE under the co-founder’s compensation. Most of Craig’s earnings are often directed towards his philanthropic works through WE Charity.
He is among the council of members of the Forbes NonProfit Council since 2020 and also on the advisory board of the Leaders Debates Association.
Craig Kielburger Awards
Craig has been privileged to receive numerous awards and decorations, some at a very young age.
Some of the awards that Craig Kielburger has received are:
Order of Canada award in 2006.
Meritorious Service Award in 2007.
Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in 1998.
Reebok Human Rights Award.
World Economic Forum Global Leaders of Tomorrow Award in 1998.
Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award in 2003.
Action Canada Fellowship Award for the year 2005-2006.
Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award from EY & Schwab Foundation in 2008.
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2013.
Craig has also received numerous honorary degrees from universities in the USA and UK for promoting human rights and education. He was awarded the Nelson Mandela Freedom Medal, the World children’s Prize, and the Order of Canada. Canadians named him the most Admired Public Sector CEO. He was voted the top most trusted influencer in a Readers Digest Poll.
CRAIG KIELBURGER SECONDARY SCHOOL
The Craig Kielburger Secondary School is a public school in Milton, Ontario, Canada. It was not founded by Craig Kielburger but rather named after him in 2012. The school offers quality college, university, apprenticeship, and workplace programs.
10 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CRAIG KIELBURGER
What is Craig Kielburger’s age?
As of July 2021, Craig Kielburger is 38 years old. He turns a year older every 17th December.
Does Craig Kielburger have a wife?
Craig Kielburger is married to Leysa Cerswell. They got married in June 2016.
Leysa Kielburger is a psychologist whose specialization is in marginalized communities. Her career as a psychologist has contributed highly to the WE charity movement as they have a wellness program known as WE Well-Being, that educates and sensitizes on matters of mental health.
Leysa Kielburger works at the Centre of Mindfulness in Toronto, Canada.
Do Craig and Leysa Kielburger have children?
Craig and Leysa Kielburger keep their family life private however many sources on the internet state that they do not have children.
What is Craig Kielburger doing today?
Craig Kielburger is traveling the world as he continues impacting lives.
Did you know that before the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, Craig would travel for up to 300 days in a year?
He is also a renowned powerful speaker today who speaks on subjects related to creating change and empowering to transform.
To book Craig Kielburger for your event happening in 2021, click here.
Craig is also a social media influencer with a huge following on both Instagram and Twitter. He was voted as Canada’s most trusted influencer on a poll by The Reader’s Digest.
Who owns WE Charity?
WE Charity is owned by Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger, and Roxanne Jolay who are also the co-founders of the charitable organization.
How much does Craig Kielburger make?
Craig Kielburger makes approximately $125,000 which is paid to him by ME to WE.
What inspired Craig Kielburger?
Craig Kielburger was inspired by Iqbal Masih, the Pakistani Boy who was murdered for speaking against child labor in his country.
How does Craig Kielburger make a difference in Canada?
Charity begins at home. Craig Kielburger through his organization, WE Charity has impacted the education system in Canada and the US at large by providing quality learning programs and resources to the youth in schools.
What is Craig Kielburger best known for?
Craig Kielburger is famous for his humanitarian spirit which shows through his organization, WE Charity which has touched lives all over the world.
How did Oprah Winfrey impact Free The Children?
Oprah Winfrey believed and still believes in Craig Kielburger. She hosted him on her show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, in 1999 when he was 16 years old and since then, they have worked together to build schools in less developed countries.
Other media shows where Craig Kielburger has featured are 60 Minutes and BBC Show. All these have contributed positively to reaching out to the world to help end poverty.
FAMOUS QUOTES BY CRAIG KIELBURGER
“The change starts within each one of us. And ends only when all children are free to be children.”
“It’s easier to be ignorant and say I don’t know about the problem. But once you know, once you’ve seen it in their eyes, then you have a responsibility to do something. There is strength in numbers, and if we all work together as a team, we can be unstoppable.”
“Collectively, we have all it takes to create a just and peaceful world, but we must work together and share our talents. We all need one another to find happiness within ourselves and within the world.”