How many times have you thought of brilliant ideas but end up holding back? Whether it’s the ample amount of fear creeping through your nerves or the overwhelming feeling you’re getting just thinking about it. Know that you’re not alone. However, many brave young children are unstoppable.
These pint-sized activists and entrepreneurs are instrumental in making the world a better place. Regardless of their age, without procrastinating or self-doubt, these kids are using their creativity to change the world. Here’s proof that it is never too early to make a change.
1. Leah Choy
At the age of four, most children will either be playing with their toys or wanting to watch their favourite television program. But this was not the case for Leah. At such a tender age, Leah picked up baking and started selling cupcakes to help raise funds for her younger sister’s medical treatment. Adele, her sister was diagnosed with microcephaly along with quadriplegia cerebral palsy when she was only two months old. Leah, now at only nine years old, has launched and sold over 500 copies of her baking book and has even met her baking idol, American pastry chef Buddy Valastro.
2. Greta Thunberg
In September 2019, Greta gave a heart-wrenching speech to world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit. This 16-year-old from Sweden was the lead of the largest climate strike in history. An estimation of four million people across 161 countries took to the streets. It all started from a movement she started in school a year ago and it has bloomed to be a worldwide movement. Greta demanded the government to take action by encouraging students to skip school and join her as she spends every Friday on strike. As of this year, more than one million students around the world have participated in a multi-city coordinated protest for stronger action against climate change.
3. Melati and Isabel Wijsen
Melati and Isabel started making a change when they were 10 and 12 years old respectively. ‘Bye Bye Plastic Bags’ was born as a product of one of their classes in school regarding influential world leaders. The young women were inspired by Rwanda’s ban on plastics and decided to make an initiative in Bali. Their initiative of beach clean-ups and government petitions has formed an organisation advocating for a reduction of plastic use in over 15 different countries. And this day, thanks to both them, Bali is officially plastic bag free.
4. Nicholas Lowinger
It all started when 5-year-old Nicholas met 2 homeless siblings. The brother and sister would take turns just to go to school because they had to share a pair of shoes. He started by donating some clothes that were in good condition and soon after he donated shoes too. However, he soon realised his shoes did not fit them. The only way was to give them new, comfortable, well-fitted shoes. That’s how the ‘Gotta Have Sole’ organisation was birthed. Since then, after nine years, Nicholas has provided over 99, 000 pairs of new shoes to children in homeless shelters.
5. Jaylen Arnold
By the age of two, Jaylen was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s and OCD. He would often get bullied by peers for being different. At the age of eight, Jaylen realised that the anxiety he suffered as a result of the bullying worsened the symptoms of his disabilities. So rather than fighting back physically, he chose to become the voice for millions of children and founded the Jaylen Challenge Foundation. For the past 11 years and with the mantra “Bullying No Way!” this program has educated more than 100,000 kids on recognizing bullying behaviour and appreciating each other’s differences.
Children identify better with their peers. Start exposing them to these inspiring children and let them find a path of their own. Who knows? Your child might be addressing world leaders before you know it.
Malay Mail, Business Insider, NPR, Gotta Have Sole, World of Children