“Free! Safe! Educated!” are the words every student yelled at this year’s Great Lakes Peacejam Conference, and the person who started the chant was special guest Kailash Satyarthi.
Satyarthi is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has fought for the rights of children and their education. He has also protested against child labor and has been successful in saving 80 thousand children. He began helping children in India and has now turned his focus on the world at large.
Satyarthi wants all children to be free, go to school and be able to just act like a child. To this day, he continues to spread awareness about the issues of child education. This year Loy Norrix students had the privilege to hear him talk and to discover more about this issue at the Great Lakes Peacejam Conference.
The Great Lakes PeaceJam Conference is held annually and is hosted by a different school in states surrounding the Great Lakes every year. This year Loy Norrix was given the honor and considerable task of hosting. Many schools from around the Great Lakes came to learn and be inspired. They share a love of helping others and got to meet an actual Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Each year the conference focuses on a specific issue that is happening in today’s society that not only affects youth but can also be changed by them.
One Senior Anthony Smith who went to the conference and was the last one he can attend in his highschool years said, “I really enjoyed the experience, I met a lot of new people that became my friends, and Kailash informed me of child slavery in India. I was glad I went to the event.”
At this year’s conference, Kailash Satyarthi made it clear he is also just a regular person who saw that he could do some good in the world and then did. He followed his heart: his mind caught up, and soon so did the whole world. From a young age Satyarthi asked questions about why other children sat outside of school instead of going into it and why they didn’t have shoes.
Satyarthi saw things from a different perspective, and educated himself on the materialistic mindset that is ingrained into the minds of youth. He saw materialism as needing to be addressed in children, especially in how they treat others who have less.
“There is a candle burning in all of you,” Kailash said in one of his closing speeches, “We have globalized everything else, why not globalize compassion?”
Freshman Alexandria King a full time Peacejam member said, “ Hearing Kailash speak was very insightful and eye-opening, I felt like I learned a lot more than I thought I would.”
The conference taught kids that they have a voice and that they are the future. It exposed people to the kids all over the world making a change and proved that there are no isolated examples of kids speaking their truth.