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Life on the Edge: The Prince
Craig Kielburger founded Free the Children in 1995 after being shocked by the murder of a young Pakistani child labor activist. His organization has grown astronomically since then, using education to open doors for kids around the globe.
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Director: Emily McDowell
Producer: Mark Harvey

Learn more about the Millennium Development Goals.

Read about the work of the European Commission and the UN Foundation.

Find out what Oxfam Novib, NCDO, and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Development are doing to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Element (the series) was made by Element Partnership, with the assistance of Internews Europe and One World Media.
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Segment 1

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Element
CRAIG KIELBURGER [Founder, Free the Children]
I'm a student. I hate Monday mornings. I hate the alarm clock going off. I don't want to get up or go to class. For a lot of kids around the world, that's their greatest dream.
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Millennium Development Goal #2: Primary education for all
CRAIG KIELBURGER
It was April 19th, 1995, twelve years old. I was looking for the comics in the paper, and the headline said, "Boy, 12, Murdered."
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Boy, 12, Murdered
CRAIG KIELBURGER
And so I start reading the story about this young boy in Pakistan named Iqbal Masih and how at the age of four how he was taken away from the family. He worked twelve hours a day, every single day, tying thousands of tiny little knots making carpets that largely end up in Europe or North America. And at the age of ten he escapes, and he starts traveling around the world raising awareness about child labor, and he was shot dead. Most people believe he was killed because he was speaking out against child labor. I was angry enough that the first thing I did was actually rip off the front page of the paper, and then got to my grade seven class and started reading this story in front of my classroom. I said, "I need your help," and eleven hands went up, and Free the Children was born. I remember when we first started, we said that we were going to build one school, and people laughed at us. That was ten years ago. We've worked with more than one million children in 45 countries around the world, including building 420 primary schools, which every single day serve about 40,000 children.
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Dec. 26, 2004: South Asia tsunami. Sri Lanka: 31,000 die.
CRAIG KIELBURGER
That is what's left of a school. We saw books that were still lying in puddles of water, desks that were literally smashed to the ground, a roof had caved in. It just destroyed everything in sight.
CRAIG KIELBURGER
"One year later I stand here again, instead of devastation, as a symbol of hope." I can read you my speech, but it consists of, "Prime Minister, the President --"
CRAIG KIELBURGER
We're in Sri Lanka to help open vocational training centers and primary schools, rebuilding after the devastation of the tsunami.
CRAIG KIELBURGER
We have before us a gathering that is a testament to the power of partnership in restoring hope to lives devastated by the tsunami. Thanks to your extraordinary work, I believe that we provided many students here, and many young people, with a brighter future. Thank you. It's been our honor to work with the citizens of Palangathurai, and thank you Minister.
CRAIG KIELBURGER
Sometimes there are some cultural misunderstandings. For example, when you are a foreigner you receive a set of garlands around your neck. It's a welcome, but as a foreigner when you take it off and put it around the neck of a young woman, it's a marriage proposal.
CRAIG KIELBURGER
Ah, apparently I just proposed marriage.
CRAIG KIELBURGER
The new vocational training center, the two story building, is helping to provide the skills and tools so that families can actually earn enough to afford to send their child to school instead of send their child into child labor. We have a rule that a minimum of 50 percent of the students are young girls. We believe that education is a tool for gender empowerment. Education is the solution to everything.
CRAIG KIELBURGER
We're off to Thirukkovil, a small village that was devastated by the tsunami. They lost their primary school so we're helping with the reconstruction. Last year, the world spent 400 billion dollars on cigarettes, 180 billion dollars drinking beer, and 40 billion dollars playing golf, when all it would take is an additional 10 billion dollars to put every single child around the world into school. Everyone loves to have fun, everyone loves to laugh, and everyone loves to be a child. There are some things that are universal, from rolling in the dirt and having fun to universal human rights like education. Being young, we often got labeled as being idealistic, as if that was a negative thing. Because we're young, we believe we can change the world, we believe we're unstoppable. And that's something we should never grow out of. At the end of every day, I go out and look for a clear sky, try to connect to the Internet so I can download a message from the office. I think today's report is going to be about an opening school ceremony, an extraordinary day, and how we need a lot more days like this.
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Millennium Development Goals: eight goals for a better world by 2015. Every one counts. www.element-tv.net. Element. For more information, please visit: http://www.tve.org.