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Defenders for Human Rights

Other Human Rights Defenders

The purpose of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to share the personal journeys of some of the many Canadian human rights defenders working today. As lesson plans are thematic and many Canadians assume the responsibility to advance human rights, every lesson plan also includes community-based defenders. It is hoped that your students may be inspired to identify themselves as human rights defenders and take positive action to support human rights in their own life and community. Perhaps your students will become community defenders themselves.

Hannah Taylor

Hannah Taylor has been an advocate for Canada’s hungry and homeless population since she was five, when she saw a homeless man having to eat from a garbage can. Her charity, The Ladybug Foundation, which she founded in Winnipeg at age eight, promotes the basic human rights of adequate shelter and food. At 18, her activism now includes The Ladybug Foundation Education Program, which features “makeChange,” a K-12 resource to empower young people. Her work, including more than 175 speaking engagements, has raised more than $3 million for projects helping homeless people receive shelter, food, and safety.

  • Women’s Health and Security
  • Children’s Health and Wellness

Craig Kielburger

When Craig Kielburger was 12, he read about a Pakistani boy his own age named Iqbal, who had been killed for speaking against child labour. The injustice Kielburger then understood troubled him; Iqbal’s influence inspired him to co-found Free the Children with his brother Marc. Working with the premise of children helping children, Free the Children partners schools in “developed” countries with poorer ones in “developing” countries, invests in education and medical treatment, and raises awareness of the human rights issues children face. In 2008, the Kielburger brothers created Me to We, a socially conscious brand affiliated with Free the Children.

  • Displacement to Activism
  • Children’s Health and Wellness

Leesee Papatsie

Seeing exorbitant food prices in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and a struggle among Inuit families to put food on the table, Leesee Papatsie created the Feeding My Family movement on Facebook in 2012. She chose social media to unite the isolated communities of the North. The group now has upwards of 20,000 members who have organized protests and promoted a return to “country food” – more traditional diets based on the food directly available in the north. Papatsie’s movement seeks to combine modern communication with Inuit tradition, uniting northerners and encouraging food providers to find ways to supply better food for lower prices.

  • Children’s Health and Wellness
  • Cultural Identity and Education