Whew! I’m still on a whirl from all the incredible activity around International Women’s Day last week! Wasn’t it a fabulous time, bringing focus to so many issues that affect all of us?
We celebrate women every day but that one official recognition day offered some great opportunities to get connected in ways we might not otherwise. And that’s a good thing!
Last Tuesday I attended a breakfast meeting at Verity in Toronto, where the speaker was a young woman with an incredible story to share. She tells it very well. Cheryl Perera is someone you need to know about and then tell as many other people as possible. Seriously.
In her mid-twenties, Cheryl is already an established children’s rights activist and the leader of her youth-based charity ONECHILD, a registered, non-profit organization since July 2005. In her teens she was recognized as one of Canada’s “Top Twenty Under Twenty” and a fine example of a growing throng of social-minded young charity crusaders who heed the call for change. Rather than turning to established foundations, they’re starting their own.
Cheryl has mobilized youth all around the world and particularly in Canada to join this campaign and set up chapters in their schools. Results of their efforts can be seen on the website. Powerful.
As the ONECHILD website states: Knowledge is power. By increasing the knowledge of young people about the reality of child sexual slavery, by dispelling preconceived ideas, and by challenging them to think critically, OneChild motivates those same young people to spread the word in their schools, their communities, and the world.
Cheryl first became aware of the shocking child sexual slavery trade that exists around the world when she was working on a high school project at the age of 16. She traveled to her family’s homeland of Sri Lanka to learn more. Bringing attention to children’s rights has been her focus ever since and her accomplishments are jaw-dropping. Please take a minute to visit the ONECHILD website by clicking here.
As we know, there are other international organizations also focused on this issue and working together, mobilizing people of all ages, progress is being made. However the uphill battle is steep. Let’s all do what we can.
I’ll be writing more about Cheryl and her organization in the future but I wanted to introduce her mission to you now. Please share this information and perhaps, in our own blogging voices, we can contribute to spreading this vital message. Every child deserves to be safe.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
–Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist
Are there young people in your community who are dedicating themselves to social change? Let’s hear about them! Let’s support them! They are the future.