In the past five years, we’ve equipped and partnered with over 15,000 youth across Canada to drive change for some of the world’s most pressing issues like child labour and girls’ education in crisis.
World Vision’s delegation to Women Deliver—the world’s largest conference on gender equality—included 12 youth leaders from campus clubs and youth groups across Canada.
The global conference is held every three years, but two developments made this event special: the emphasis on youth and how they can use their power to drive progress and change. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $1.4-billion annual investment over 10 years to women, adolescents and girls’ health and rights, directly impacting youth.
Hundreds of sessions at the conference tackled issues from ending child marriage to empowering community health workers.
Shagufta Farheen, a first-year student at the University of Calgary and youth ambassador with World Vision Canada captured the moment: "I was seeing history in the making. There was so much energy, thousands of people—especially young people like me—devoted to continue advocating for the equal rights of girls.”
Goods made by child labourers are flooding into Canada, according to a 2018 federal government report. But Mira Gillis, 16, is doing something about it. She’s campaigning to push the government to enact supply-chain legislation that would compel companies to disclose if children were exploited to make their products.
She was part of an effort that pushed the government to open formal consultation on the issue in May 2019.
Advocacy is one way to make change and young girls like Mira are getting involved. In addition to supporting a petition—over 50,000 signatures strong—by a fellow World Vision youth ambassador calling for legislation, she was featured in a World Vision Canada public service announcement video to end child labour.
Change isn’t something to be made only by someone else older than you. As Mira’s own experience shows, you’re never too young: “Everybody does have a voice and you can use it in any matter you like—and everybody does have the opportunity to make a difference.”
The numbers are grim: among them, 75 million children and youth live in countries affected by conflict or disaster.
In support of these vulnerable children, 75 Canadian students from across the country in June 2018 marched in Quebec City, site of the G7 meeting of world leaders. Outfitted in special robes, seven of these youth told the story of the “fragile seven,” girls with lives and futures that have been severely disrupted.
Since 2013, we’ve taken concrete steps towards addressing the worst forms of child labour – paving the way to a future where no child will ever be for sale. Join the movement to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.