From pollution to poverty, social enterprises like the Plastic Bank are discovering new solutions to old problems. And Canadian entrepreneur David Katz shows us the key to successful social enterprises lies in changing the way we think, finding the value in people and things everyone else tosses aside.
In ancient Greek mythology, King Sisyphus was cursed for an eternity to heave a massive boulder up a steep hill, only to watch the rock roll back down again and again when he nears the top. Compared to the struggles of women everywhere for equality and respect, you could say Sisyphus had it soft. At the current rate of progress it will take at least 81 years for women globally to achieve global equality in key areas, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Meanwhile, from the studios of the CBC to the streets of New York, recent stories of harassment and violence against women abound.
With our health care system, diabetes is more easily managed in Canada. But in a developing community, most can't afford a computerized glucometer. So diabetes goes largely untreated, leading to critical complications like blindness, heart disease and kidney failure. Diabetes claims 3.4 million lives every year.
The entire school in Ayr, Scotland, vibrated with anticipation. The lunchroom sounded more like a debate hall than a cafeteria. Kirsty McCahill watched the clock tick down to the closing bell. She rushed home, then to the nearby community centre to do what no Scottish 16-year-old had ever done before that day: vote on the future of her country.
The lesser known but long-fighting Satyarthi is a trailblazer for children's rights; Malala is the next generation. She is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 17, the first teen. This is a profound and long-overdue recognition for the role of youth in changing our world for the better.
When I met Joe Opatowski I was looking for a hero. My father had just died from cancer. I was 12-years-old and had read Craig Kielburger's book "Free the Children" and I suppose at the time, given my disposition with regards to my father's illness, I had grandiose questions and was looking for a hero.
So many young Canadians are looking to make their mark on the world. Some pick up a shovel to build a school or a ladle in soup kitchens to serve the homeless. A small number choose a different way, traveling to Syria to pick up an AK-47. Where does the road diverge between the youth who choose the path of helping and those on the path of harm? And for those on the road toward extremism, are there points along their journey where they might be set on a positive path?
Like a decade ago, the goal is to end the Ebola crisis and allow a nation to begin its recovery. The next step will be to re-open schools shuttered by chaos and fear, allowing the next generation of health practitioners to be educated. But success will only be achieved -- and the next crisis averted before it begins -- if we all follow the example of those Canadian children who refused to ship out of Sierra Leone until the job was done.
In the dead of winter, minus 40 degree winds whistled through gaps around doors and windows of the decrepit portables that made up the entirety of their school. Until this month, that was life in elementary school in Attawapiskat. After a 14-year wait, children in the remote northern Ontario First Nations community have a real school again.
Irony -- when Canada's Minister of State for Multiculturalism is the victim of a racial slur. Minister Tim Uppal and his family walked into an Edmonton tennis club this past week and overheard a woman express disgust that the Sikh-Canadian family was allowed membership. She went on to suggest that Uppal was probably unemployed. It was an ugly reminder that Canada may be the land of multiculturalism, but we are not immune to racism.
No more hockey. No more swimming lessons. For 15,000 Thunder Bay families living in poverty, the proposed funding cuts in 2005 meant the end of the only affordable sports and recreation programs available to their children. The council debate was rancorous. The motion looked ready to pass. Then one councillor rose to remind his colleagues of their promise to the city's young: the Children's Charter.
In the small First Nations community of Moricetown, in central B.C., teens haunt the convenience stores and gas bars, their lives adrift. Locals call them "phantoms." Cain Michell, then 14, was one of them. His life changed when Moricetown teachers Tom and Lorna Butz came knocking in 2012,
Clemantine Wamariya went years without taking a shower. Living with the filth and stench was still preferable to risking rape in a refugee camp bathroom. It would be six more years before she again had a home not constructed out of blue and white United Nations tarps, and several more years before she became a Yale University grad and activist for displaced peoples. Wamariya's incredible success story is a testament to what refugees can achieve when every day is not just a fight for survival.
Although she attended primary school, Daisy's family couldn't afford the fees to send her to high school. But when Barengetuny was 19, development workers began travelling from village to village by motorcycle, including her community of Motony, introducing women to the micro-finance "merry-go-round." Now she's an established businesswoman.
I soon learned that anyone (even young people) could make a difference in the lives of others around the world. It all starts by committing to take one action in support of a local or global issue.
What astounds us is that, despite everything he saw and endured during the apartheid years, Tutu remains one of the most joyful human beings we know. A laugh is never far from his lips. When music plays, he is the first on his feet dancing. We can only attribute this to his mastery of the art of forgiveness. Tutu's soul remains unburdened by anger and vindictiveness.