Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and ages!5 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
Children’s Day Special
When we think about heroes, it’s usually people who have accomplished great things as adults. But what about those inspiring ones who took massive strides at a young age? As part of Children’s Day, which falls every year on November 14, Owliver’s going to introduce all you to some cool kids who achieved a lot at a tender age!
Malala Yousafzai – Malala needs no introduction – she’s the youngest recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize! Her story, however, started out quite rough. She was born in Pakistan in 1997 (can you guess how old she is right now?) and always had a great love for studying. Unfortunately, she was born in a place where girls studying wasn’t looked at as a good thing by everyone. On her way back from school one day in 2012, when she was just a teenager, she was shot. The incident sparked international outrage, and when she recovered, Malala went onto become an advocate for women’s education. She earned recognition across the globe, winning many honours for her work on the right to education. She was even called the ‘most prominent citizen in Pakistan’! You can read all about her incredible journey in a best-selling book she co-authored called I Am Malala.
Greta Thunberg – This 17-year-old from Sweden has been in the news a lot for her passion for the environment, and has inspired students all over the world. However, Greta, like many other heroes, started off in a small way before earning international recognition. Her school protest against the government’s inaction against climate change turned heads, inspiring similar protests across the world. In 2019, Greta was named Person of the Year by Time Magazine – an annual round-up of the people who have achieved great things that particular year. She was invited by the United Nations to give a talk on Climate Change – a speech one must watch!
Jaylen Arnold – Bullying in schools is a big problem across the globe, and can lead to tremendous trauma, some times spilling into adulthood too. Taking a stand against this is Jaylen Arnold, who was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Asperger’s syndrome, for which he was often bullied by his peers. Rather than fighting back, Jaylen, who is now 20, decided to become to voice of all the other kids who have been bullied for being ‘different’. He founded Jaylens Challenge Foundation, a programme that has helped over 100,000 children on how to deal with bullying.
Emma González – Born November 11, 1999, Emma was a senior in high school when she survived a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, USA. A total of 17 people were killed in the horrific incident of 2018, but Emma, rather than staying quiet, decided to speak up about what happened. She became an advocate for gun violence, a major issue in the country, leading to thousands of deaths annually. Her viral speech against gun violence and activism on the issue brought her on Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018 list.
Boyan Slat – On a diving trip in Greece, then 16-year-old Boyan saw that the ocean had more plastic than fish! Disgusted and disappointed with the pollution in our water bodies, the Dutch teenager launched Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit that works towards ridding oceans of plastic. Through his company, Boyan is actively working to find technological solutions to problems caused by pollution and climate change. Recently, Boyan developed a pair of sunglasses that is made of plastic collected from the Pacific Ocean!
Yash Gupta – When his glasses broke during class in high school, Yash’s life changed. Having worn glasses since he was a toddler, he didn’t appreciate them until he realised that his education was affected due to his blurred vision. His glasses were fixed in a week, but that experience inspired him to found the organisation Sight Learning, a charity that collects discarded eyeglasses and donates them to children in need around the world. They have given out over $1.5 million worth of eyewear in places like Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, and even India.
Owliver’s Obscure Facts: Did you know that India has its very own Greta Thurnberg? Nine-year-old Licypriya Kangujam from Manipur has already spoken in 21 countries on climate change! She is currently busy trying to fight for cleaner air in Delhi.
There are so many more wonderful youngsters doing great things out in the world, and Owliver is here to tell you all to dream big, start small and stand up for what you believe in! From all of us at Owliver’s Post, Happy Children’s Day!
Sources: Reader’s Digest, Goodhousekeeping.com, Waterford.org; Photos: WikiPedia, Twitter, Pickpic