Nobel Laureate: Kailash Satyarthi

Let us unite the world through the compassion for our children.
-Kailash Satyarthi

 

On Friday April 7th, we were fortunate to welcome Nobel Peace Prize Winner Kailash Satyarthi to AES. Kailash Ji is working to end child labor in India and around the world, and has already saved 84,000 children from bonded labor. He has started a campaign called 100 million for 100 million – to help end child labor and provide an opportunity for all children to have a quality education.

Kailash Ji enters the gym and greets children.

Kailash Ji embraces Aarav, a student whose family is close with his own, volunteering at the ashram and working together on the same mission.

Introducing Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.

He spoke for 45 minutes directly to our students. He talked about their bright faces, their energy, their joy, their dreams….he called them the true heroes and heroines of this world who are full of light. He asked our students if they dream. Do you dream in the night? Do you dream in the day? Do you dream of your future? Do you dream of the future of others? He explained to our students that they are fortunate- they have the opportunity to dream, they have the opportunity to go to a phenomenal school…and there are millions of children who are as fortunate as they are. And there are also millions of children who are not as fortunate as they are.

Kailash Satyarthi speaking to the children of AES.

You could see the love that Kailash Ji has for children.

So inspiring to hear Kailash Satyarthi speak to the students at AES.

Kailash spoke about the fact that there is one earth, and we all walk on the same earth. We are all connected, and it is not okay for there to be 170 million children in the world who are not in school, and instead engaged in child labor. Especially when there are 210 million adults without jobs. Satyarthi stated that it is these children who are not in school who are most vulnerable and the most likely to be radicalized. It is our job to protect our children, as all children must be protected from all dangers.

Satyarthi then told our students about his 100 million for 100 million campaign. He said that he is looking for 100 million children to be the spokesperson, the change-makers, the champions for the 100 million children who are left out.

Students inspired and pledging to help.

Ellen Stern presents Kailash Satyarthi with gifts and gratitude.

Kailash’s final message to us was powerful, the Three Ds:

  • Dream big – not just for yourself, but dream big for all of humanity.
  • Discover the power inside of you, and the possibilities and opportunities outside of you.
  • Do something – act now.

After school, Kailash met with a small working group of students. There were questions and answers for about 20 minutes before Mr. Satyarthi had to leave AES. And then our students engaged in a letter writing exercise and researching addresses of Heads of State for letters that Kailash will be sending out in a week or two.

Small working group engaging in letter writing and researching addresses of Heads of State for Kailash Satyarthi.

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The following video gives an up close account of the kind of work that Satyarthi has spearheaded in India since the 1980s. There is video footage of child labor raids/rescues, which shows how dangerous, heroic and influential his work has been to so many children.

TED Talk: How to make peace? Get angry.

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