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free-the-children
Meet Craig and learn about the organization he started called FREE THE CHILDREN.

One morning in 1995, when Craig was twelve years old, he read a story in the newspaper that would change his life. It was the story of the far-too-short life of Iqbal Masih. The son of a poor single mother from rural Pakistan, Iqbal was sold into bonded labor (basically slavery) when he was just four years old. For the next six years, he worked—and was abused—for twelve hours a day in a carpet factory. When Iqbal was ten, he was rescued by child labor activists and started speaking out about the cruelties of child labor and even traveled to the U.S. and Sweden to share his story. A few months later, back in Pakistan, he was shot and killed. He was only twelve when he died, the same age Craig was when he read Iqbal’s story for the first time. Reading Iqbal’s tragic story inspired Craig to create Free The Children with his brother and some friends. What started as a small group of kids petitioning and writing letters (because email wasn’t widespread yet and there was no change.org) to raise awareness about child labor has grown into an international movement. Still led by young people, Free The Children aims to support the needs of communities all over the world in a sustainable way so that children can get an education instead of having—or being forced—to work. They do this by building schools, health clinics and clean water systems and supporting family farms and small businesses so kids can go to school and hopefully not to work. There are lots of ways to be involved, particularly because Free The Children empowers young people to run campaigns close to home and around the world. To learn more about Free The Children’s work and how you can engage, visit freethechildren.com.