Hello! My name is Natalie and I write this blog. I’m a member of 60 million girls, which is why I had the great honour to be able to attend We Day in Montreal, this past Monday. We Day is part of a family of organizations including Free The Children, for whom 60 million girls are raising $300,000 to invest in the Oleleshwa All Girls Secondary School.
Recently, I was speaking with a friend about activism. Activism doesn’t work, my friend said. You never hear any stories about people actually changing the world. My response was that you never hear about it because it doesn’t make the news.
At We Day, I was introduced to a man named Spencer West. Spencer climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro on his hands… because he has no legs. In doing so, he raised $600,000 for Free The Children. The money was used for sustainable clean water projects in communities affected by the drought in Kenya. Spencer then went on to do a 300 km trek from Edmonton to Calgary for the same cause.
Another We Day speaker, Chris Tse, is a spoken word artist. As a teenager, Chris spent time in Mexico in camps for migrant workers, where he witnessed the devastating poverty that so many people around the world face every day. Chris has traveled to South America, Europe, Asia and the U.S., where he used his spoken word as a channel for social issues. After graduating, he worked for Journalists for Human Rights in Ghana, reporting on human rights abuses and the progress of Millennium Development Goal projects.
Another speaker, Lazylegz, does have legs, but not ones that work particularly well. And yet, he formed a breakdance crew of “ill-abled” dancers from all over the world, and has a slogan: “No Excuses, No Limits.” I’d never heard of any of these people, but from their excited shouting and applause, it was obvious that the 2000 kids in the audience had.
Speaking of those kids, the ones who attend these events can only do so if they’ve volunteered. Free The Children recently calculated that the kids who work with them and with We Day and Me to We have now done, cumulatively, a total of 9.2 million hours of service. That’s A MILLENNIUM of volunteering and activism. They’ve also raised $1.4 million in pennies: enough to provide 56,000 people with clean water… for life.
I’m as guilty as the next person of feeling like this world is full of irreparable problems. But on a day like We Day, I’m reminded of how much good is happening. I encourage you to check out any of the Me to We speakers, or just spend a few minutes today spreading news about amazing things human beings are doing right now, everywhere on the planet.