Craig Kielburger Biography

(Canadian Author)

Birthday: December 17, 1982 (Sagittarius)

Born In: Thornhill, Vaughan, Canada

Craig Kielburger is a Canadian author, activist, columnist and speaker. He is also a humanitarian and children’s rights activist. He co-founded the organization ‘Free the Children’ as a teenager with his brother and some other friends and has been the face of several initiatives for saving innocent children from the clutches of slavery and labour. The life changing moment arrived to him at the age of 12, when he heard in the news about death of Iqbal Masih, a 12 year old Pakistani boy who was martyred at the age of 12 fighting for his beliefs and for the freedom and rights of child labourers. The incident shook young Craig to his core. He was in seventh grade then and presented a speech in class and many kids came ahead as volunteers forming the group named ‘Kids can free the Children’. One of their very first actions was making efforts for the release of imprisoned child labour activist Kailash Satyarthi, who was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Craig has also founded ‘Me to We’, a social enterprise that donates half of its profit to ‘Free the Children’. In 2004, Craig also co-authored a book titled ‘Me to We’. He writes columns under a section ‘Global Voices’ which gets published in several newspapers.
Quick Facts

Canadian Celebrities Born In December

Also Known As: Craig

Age: 41 Years, 41 Year Old Males


father: Fred Kielburger

mother: Theresa Kielburger

siblings: Marc Kielburger

Human Rights Activists Children's Rights Activists

Founder/Co-Founder: Free the Children

More Facts

awards: Member of the Order of Canada
Four Freedoms Award - Freedom from Fear
Reebok Human Rights Award

Childhood & Early Life
Craig Kielburger was born in Ontario, Canada, on 17th December 1982. He did his early schooling from Catholic schools in Thornhill. It was in school that he became interested in social activities. During one of the projects in school, he started the initiative ‘We Can Free the Children’. He pursued his higher studies in Peace and Conflict studies at the University of Toronto from the highly regarded Trinity College.
He later went on to do MBA from the York University and Northwestern University, and emerged as the youngest graduate ever from the duo programme of Schulich School of Business and Kellogg School of Management.
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Social Activism
Craig was an emotional kid and started young with activism. When he first brought up the concept of ‘We Can Free the Children’, his friends and brother didn’t think he was serious but Craig’s dedication to the cause impressed them. He was heartbroken with the fate of a Pakistani kid, Iqbal Masih, after reading about him in a newspaper and realized that age is just a number, and even kids can make a difference if they are determined.
Craig and his new found group centred their initial attention in south Asian countries and one of their first efforts was aimed towards the release of imprisoned child labour activist Kailash Satyarthi from the prison by requesting the prime minister of India. Seeing his growing interest in social activism, his parents allowed him to accompany a young Canadian social worker Alam Rahman to his Asian trip. He used all his savings for the trip and collected the remaining money from his parents and family friends.
Craig met several underage workers and labourers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. He saw children living in poor conditions and did odd jobs such as clearing off the litters from the places where those children lived and giving them free food and medicines.
While on the South Asian tour, Craig came to know that the then prime minister of Canada was visiting India and Craig requested an audience with him to include child labour issue as one of his agendas. This news went big with western media and Craig became sort of a celebrity in North America and just as he returned to Canada, he was invited on ‘60 Minutes’ and ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’.
He told the experiences he had in Asia in several TV interviews and requested more people to come forward to work towards the issue and went on to collect his experiences in the book ‘Free the Children’ inspiring the filmmaker Judy Jackson to make a documentary on his trips called ‘It takes a Child’.
‘Me to We’ is an enterprise started by Craig that deals in products and services of social importance. Half of the profit from the enterprise goes to Free the Children’s growth and the remaining half gets invested in growing the enterprise.
In 2004, Craig and his brother Marc co-wrote a book titled ‘Me to We’ and in 2008, the brothers were presented with Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for ‘Me to We’, the company. In the meantime, Free the Children kept growing at a rapid pace and Craig kept travelling to developing countries and meeting their leaders in order to get them onboard for financial support for the purpose of eradicating child labour.
Apart from his humanitarian efforts and social activism, Craig works as a columnist and writes under the column ‘Global Voices’ for some esteemed publications such as Huffington Post, Waterloo Region Record, Victoria Times Colonist and Vancouver Sun among many others. He and his brother, Marc, also write a regular column together in ‘Globe and Mail’ titled ‘Ask the Kielburgers’.
Craig has received more than two dozen awards and honours from around the world, the most known among them being The Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award, The Reebok Human Rights Award, Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and the doctorate honour from many universities from Canada and outside.
Presently, Craig has his attention focused on growing Free the Children further and he has so far gathered millions of dollars to work towards his goal. He keeps travelling regularly and gives speeches asking people to join him in his attempts to make the world child labour free.
Personal Life
Craig Kielburger married Leysa Cerswell in 2016, right after three months of announcing their engagement. Popular singer Nelly Furtado performed at their wedding.

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