After we moved to Canada, money was still tight for my family. Hand-me-downs from friends were the new threat. Some of them fit okay, but colour was a whole other issue. Much of the light clothing had taken on a grayish tint, from being washed too often with the darks. Most of the dark clothing was faded. But I've overcome that stigma to embrace the many benefits of second hand clothing.
On July 30, the International Day of Friendship celebrates unlikely friendships with the power to change the world. Children's empowerment is exactly the kind of thing UN leaders had in mind, when they said "yes" to the idea of an International Day of Friendship. The date places particular emphasis on involving young people as future leaders.
Just because William Wilberforce brought British slavery laws crashing down in the early 1800s, we assume slavery has ended. Not so. Children as young as six are forced by their impoverished parents to go into the streets and press anyone to give them money. Some children are forced to carry their newborn brothers and sisters into traffic, zigzagging between stopped cars in traffic jams while pleading for small change.
As we mark the World Day Against Child Labour, more than 115-million children are forced to work in jobs that are dirty, dangerous and degrading. World Vision is fighting to keep the conversation about child slavery going strong. Wednesday in Toronto and Vancouver, we staged potentially shocking events in store windows to generate discussion about child slavery.
At an age when Canadian teenage boys are downloading songs on iTunes, Bounmy left his village in Laos to find work next door in Thailand, which he did on a fishing vessel. Little did he know he would be kept on that boat for nine years with no pay. And the fish he hauled out of the water may well have been appearing on Canadian dinner tables.
Imagine the four walls around you are basically walls of blue tarp held up by tree branches. Your floor is a slab of cement if you're lucky, or a dirt floor where rats and bugs greet you at every corner as they scavenge through heaps of litter, scrap, and human waste. This is the reality of a Delhi slum.
As the outdoor temperature starts to fall, many Canadians plan their winter escapes. Most look for someplace warm. Canadians are generous, caring people, and that doesn't change when we go on holiday. But surely we can't cure all a country's problems in the one week we are there! There's nothing we can do to change things for the children, right? Actually, there's a lot we can do.