SURREY — The Kielburger brothers urged 500 attendees at Surrey's Regional Economic Summit in Guildford to aspire to higher goals than just making money for its own sake.
Craig and Marc Kielburger founded their internally respected Free The Children organization when they were children, inspired by the story of a Pakistani boy who was murdered at age 12 for speaking out against child labour. The boy had been sold into slavery at age 4, eventually escaped, became an outspoken critic against child labour and was shot dead for his efforts at age 12.
His tragic experience led to the founding of Free The Children in 1995.
Craig Kielburger recalled that the organization had originally been called "The Group of 12 12-Year-Olds." Since its inception, Free The Children has helped more that 3,500 youth groups and hundreds of thousands of children in Canada, the U.S. and United Kingdom and has grown into the world's largest network of children helping children attain better educations, building more than 650 schools in 45 countries.
The brothers noted that while most people can afford to give five to 10 per cent of what they earn to charity, the challenge is to tap into the remaining 90 to 95 per cent. "How do we do that for social good?" Craig asked.
"Is there a higher calling than getting somebody a roof over their head, to raise their families?"
Job loathing costs society $150 billion annually in stress-related illnesses and other problems, they noted.
The brothers encouraged business owners to seek out innovative ways to incorporate a spirit of social consciousness into their operations. People searching for meaning can find it in helping other people, they noted. They challenged employers to remind their employees why they get up for work. Surely it should be for more than just a paycheque, they argued. "Honour them," Craig said.
They received a standing ovation.