Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai is among the speakers taking part in this year’s Free the Children’s We Day on Thursday in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.
The day is an opportunity for youth to learn how they can create positive change in the world.
It will feature speeches and performances from social activists, cultural icons, entertainers and global leaders — like Maathai, an environmentalist and political activist.
Maathai has been active in her native Kenya and across Africa as the founder of the Green Belt Movement — an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights.
Free the Children’s Craig Kielburger, who helped arrange for Maathai to be part of We Day, recently addressed the issue of women’s rights in Africa: Do woman living in Africa, receive the same education as their brothers? Do they now have a better chance to get an education than their mothers did?
There is significant movement towards universal primary education in Africa, but there is still quite a ways to go.
During the recent Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, a report was shared that in Africa, females spend 40-billion hours of every year collecting water; hours that could be spent in school.
Another recent report, however, shows a handful of African countries are on track to ensuring every child can receive a primary education.
A few weeks ago in Kenya, I saw first-hand the gap in the education. Often, boys go to school while girls help with chores.
I also met Mama Jane who married young and didn’t go to school. Yet, she wishes her six-year-old daughter one day becomes a pilot. Mama Jane’s daughter, unlike her mother, is getting an education.
And, if she can go to school and learn about a plane, who’s to say she can’t one day fly one?
Addition — Sept. 28, 2010, 3:19 p.m. EST: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai will not be able to take part in this year’s Free the Children’s We Day on Thursday in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.