WE Charity is a non-profit organization that works to educate people all over the world. The organization is unique in that it runs joint projects locally and internationally. WE Schools is a year-long service-learning program cultivating students’ compassion and equips them with positive social change resources.
WE Villages, a comprehensive, five-pillar international development model designed to achieve sustainable change, is being implemented in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, in collaboration with the local communities. Together with local leaders and families, WE changes lives by implementing adaptable, affordable, and sustainable solutions.
WE Villages: The Five Pillars
When children get an education, they gain the courage and self-confidence to improve themselves, their families, their communities, and the next generation.
Clean Water and Sanitation
We Charity work to help communities obtain safe sources of clean water, which reduces sickness and allows kids to attend school instead of spending hours per day fetching their family’s water—often from polluted sources.
Healthy kids are more likely to attend school, and families who have access to health care are less likely to take their children out of school to help work on farms because the parents are too sick to work.
Agriculture and Food Security
We, Charity, collaborate with communities on food security and agriculture initiatives such as school gardens and irrigation projects. When children are fed, they are more likely to attend school, perform well, and sit and learn. They believe that families will work together to lift themselves out of poverty when they are fed.
Income and Livelihood Opportunities
Another obstacle to schooling is eliminated as parents have the time and resources to invest in their children’s education and wellbeing. As a result, school attendance rises. When women are given the ability to make a living, their children are allowed to rise above poverty and have a better future.
The WE Movement, which began with a small group of students, has grown into a large and influential movement dedicated to ending poverty and child labor. WE make doing good possible, from domestic programming that helps students and educators make a difference to a sustainable international development model. Today, the Charity consists of millions of committed youth and individuals working together to bring about significant and long-term change.
How It All Started
Craig Kielburger, 12, was flipping through the newspaper searching for the comics one morning when he came across a story about Iqbal Masih, a 12-year-old former child slave in Pakistan, who had been murdered because he spoke out for human rights.
Craig was 12 years old at the time. Iqbal was 12 years old at the time. Craig was struck by a single and profound bond at that moment—except for the chance of birth, he might have been Iqbal—and he knew he had to act.
But what can a 12-year old do? He was only one person, and he was a young child. What difference could he possibly make in the lives of child slaves halfway around the world?
A collective voice was needed. So, Craig persuaded a few of his Grade 7 classmates that by working together, they could make a difference, and WE Charity was born.
Craig and his team set out on a daring journey with his older brother, Marc, to free children and their families from poverty and exploitation.
However, they soon learned that freeing children from slavery was not enough—freed children’s families continued to struggle to make ends meet, and many freed children were forced to return to work.
Expanding The Scope
Recognizing that there is no single solution to poverty, Craig and Marc established Free The Children’s WE Villages, an ambitious, holistic approach to development that offers access to five main pillars—education, sanitation, health, food, and opportunity—and empowers a group to rise above it.
These five pillars work together to have a greater effect than any of them might have on their own. Children will go to class instead of walking long distances to fetch dirty water for their families if they attend a school that provides food and clean water programs. Families can afford community health care thanks to a medical center and alternative income services.
WE Charity is an international charity dedicated to providing a sustainable development model that empowers people to transform themselves, their families, communities, and the world. It was established twenty-five years ago.
ME to WE
Craig and Marc Kielburger struggled to find a long-term funding source as WE Charity expanded globally. This issue was brought to light in 2006 when they were waiting for a shipment of medical supplies to help WE Charity’s development projects in Sierra Leone.
Craig and Marc were lucky to be mentored by billionaire Jeff Skoll, eBay’s first president, in their quest for a long-term funding source for WE Charity. Jeff urged the brothers to create a profit-making social enterprise with a social purpose to provide a long-term reliable source of funding for WE Charity, and ME to WE was born!
ME to WE provides environmentally friendly goods and life-changing experiences that have forever altered how people shop, travel, and learn. The social enterprise contributes to the long-term viability of WE Charity. Compared to other Canadian charities, the funds ME to WE donates to WE Charity enable it to have an extremely low administration rate (around 10%).
Craig and Marc have both volunteered and represented WE Charity as ambassadors, never taking a paycheck from the organization. They had been surviving on fellowships and scholarship money before ME to WE. Craig and Marc were finally able to collect a wage for the first time, paid in full by ME to WE.