Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was the popular favorite for the 2013 Nobel Peace prize. She didn't get it, though Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland was quoted as saying she could be in the running for years to come. Her young age was a factor.
Malala is an amazing young woman and I am pleased to see that there was so much focus on her efforts to improve the lives of other children. Fortunately, there are many people doing children's advocacy work internationally, but there is still so much more that needs to be accomplished. Hopefully others will see Malala as a role model.
Nineteen-year-old Michaela (Chaeli) Mycroft is the co-founder of the non-profit the Chaeli Campaign based in South Africa is another inspirational young woman. Born with cerebral palsy, she does not see herself as "disabled...but rather as "otherwise abled" and she uses this position as a platform to speak around the world as an "ability advocate," working toward a global community that accepts and embraces who face physical challenges.
At the age of 9, Chaeli and her friends raised money to buy her a motorized wheelchair. The success of the fundraiser inspired The Chaeli Campaign, a nonprofit that supports the mobility and educational needs of otherwise abled children in South Africa.
"We believe that children with physical challenges are catalysts for change in their families and communities," Chaeli said, "and we need to advocate for a more inclusive society for the benefit of all."
Since its foundation in 2004, The Chaeli Campaign has helped more than 10,000 children receive equipment, physical therapy and more. A focus on ability and the importance of inclusion are central to each of the eight programs run by The Chaeli Campaign.
World of Children Award will be honoring Chaeli on November 7th in New York City. We are deeply inspired by the remarkable contributions our honorees have made to changing the trajectory of children's lives for the better.