I write about upsetting topics. The truth is, there are things going on in the world that just shouldn’t be happening. The good news is, if the reality behind my stories bothers you, you can do something about it. You are never too young to start changing the world. Below I’ve included some ideas to get you started, but don’t stop there. If you come up with great ideas, let me know– I’d love to share them on my blog.
Positive changes in the attitude of the world only happen
one interaction at a time,
one person at a time.
Be that one person.
Help People With Albinism in Africa
Habo, and children like him with albinism in Africa, struggle with multiple facets of life: they have trouble seeing, they get burnt very easily in the sun, and they are teased and hurt by others who do not see them as real people. Here’s something you can do about each of these problems:
- You can collect things like vision aids (glasses, magnifying glasses) and sun protection (sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved sun-proof clothing) and send them to organizations that will distribute them to people with albinism in Africa, like Asante Mariamu and Under the Same Sun.
Be creative as you think of ways to get the message out– have a competition between the classes in your grade to see who can bring in the most tubes of sunscreen; have a talent show where the ticket price is a pair of reading glasses or a magnifying glass. There are great ways you can mobilize your community to make a difference in the lives of people with albinism living in Africa. (You might even be able to convince a store to donate some great life-saving products, if you ask them nicely.)
- You can raise money for advocacy groups such as the two listed above and the Salif Keita Global Foundation, that will promote the human-ness of people with albinism in government circles. Bake sales, car washes, lemonade stands… You’ll be amazed what people will be willing to give to a good cause when you give them a little something in return. You can also do some of your own advocacy by writing letters to members of the government, encouraging them to pay attention to this human rights crisis.
- Last, but definitely not least, you can help all marginalized people be treated as human by not staring and pointing when you see someone who looks different and by not treating them as if they were not as smart, or as important as you are.
Ask for Slavery-Free Candy.
You can always make the personal choice not to eat mainstream chocolate, but rather to eat candy that has been produced without the use of slave labor.
Also, you can ask your favorite chocolate companies to be more aware of the slavery in their production process. Use social media to raise awareness and let them know that you like their candy but you don’t want to eat it when kids somewhere else had to live in terrible conditions to get it to you. You are their main market. They will listen to you. Check it out: Harry Potter fans got WarnerBros to switch to fair trade chocolate. When kids who love the messages in JK Rowlings’ books took on the corporation, they got the company to agree to only sell candy that had been produced without child slaves.
Lastly, you can raise awareness of this issue. Most people don’t know that their favorite sweet is hurting kids half a world away. Consider Reverse Trick-Or-Treating where kids in the US & Canada hand out Fair Trade chocolate and information on the growing conditions of cocoa farms to raise awareness and promote justice every Halloween. Or, come up with your own ideas: I’d love to hear them!
Other Cool Things Kids are Doing to Change the World
Unrelated to my books, here are some things I’ve heard about that I thought were too fantastic not to share.
- Science Fair Awesomeness: Four teenage girls in Africa create a prototype of a generator that turns 1 liter of urine into 6 hours of electricity.