Through encounters like this one with Aysha, I have seen firsthand that all mothers have the same dreams for their children. We want them to be safe, happy and successful, and that hope doesn't change even if your circumstances are difficult. If anything, it may even become more important.
Canadians bought $34 billion-worth of "risky" goods last year.
This World Day Against Child Labour is a poignant one for me. It's been over three years since I started living as a more conscious consumer, by educating myself about child labour in the products I buy and use. That all started with a little blue dress I bought in England.
No parent dreams of their child working at a young age, missing out on school. But for Mark and his family of seven children in the Philippines, one income wasn't enough to provide for their basic needs. At seven years old, his son Paul carried the burden of work to give his other siblings a better chance in life.
Here in Canada, we know the importance of protecting children, so they have a chance to be children. But in many parts of the world, a child Derrick's age would already be working 12-hour shifts through pain, exhaustion, and abuse.
SilviaJansen via Getty Images
Here in Canada, children learn to scuba dive for fun. But in Honduras, Ariel's work is largely invisible. Tourists tucking into a seafood meal just down the shore from his boat -- perhaps raising a glass of wine at sunset -- likely have no idea who hauled up their dinner from the ocean floor.
As Mother's Day approaches, I've been thinking about the role my mom has played in my life. So when I stumbled across a photo of a little boy in Northern Armenia with a toy sewing machine, it took me straight back to sitting at the kitchen table with my own model, as my mother carefully pieced together a fabric masterpiece.
In many parts of Africa and Asia, walking takes on a whole different meaning. That's because many women and children in these developing areas have to walk six kilometres every day to get water for their family. It's not a stroll in the park, or a breezy city walk -- it's a dangerous, hot, painful journey to provide for the needs of their families.
It seems like a no brainer. Supporting charitable organizations and doing acts of kindness is the right thing to do. Most people get that. My family and many Canadians are very privileged. I feel we have an obligation to give back, to "pay it forward."
Despite some earnest progress, workers, including children, are still being exploited. Big factories that supply major brands are better regulated, but many of the smaller operations -- just one link down in the supply chain -- are still engaging children in some of the worst forms of child labour.
Alex Whittle/World Vision
It's not so easy in countries ravaged by the El Nino weather phenomenon. Most rural families work a garden or field to produce enough for the year ahead. When the rains don't come as usual, everything changes. Children must lug dead-weight water jugs over huge distances to keep their crops alive.
Khalil Ashawi / Reuters
On Wednesday, April 12, Prime Minister Trudeau will present that citizenship to Malala Yousafzai. For young women across our country, it will be a moment of pride and hope. Her fearless stand is something Canada applauds. But recognizing her passion is not all Canada is doing to improve the lives of girls around the world.
"If you then have a large influx of refugees, you need to beef up the NGOs' capacities."
People are concerned military intervention could escalate.