Highlights from Washington Insider podcast featuring Kailash Satyarthi

satyarthi

Following are excerpts from the Washington Insider podcast featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi. Download the podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes.

How Kailash Satyarthi discovered his lifelong mission
“Some sort of spark was generated when I was only…five and a half years old. It was the first day of my schooling, when I was entering into school, I saw a boy my age sitting outside. I stood for a while and I asked my teacher, when I went in my classroom, why is he not with us in a classroom? I asked to my headmaster and later on to my friends and family members, and all of them tried to convince me that it is not uncommon, that children have to work if they’re poor and nothing is special in it.

“For me it was a life long question, that why are some children born to work? Why are some children working at the cost of their childhood and education and freedom and dreams and aspirations and future? For me it was unconvincing. It was unacceptable. So I refuse to accept it.”

What inspires him to keep going
“Me and my colleagues have been able to rescue 83,000 children from these conditions of slavery and trafficking and exploitation…When I free a child, who lost all hope that she can ever go back and hug her mother or sit in her lap, and it happens and I help in doing so, the first smile of joy of freedom appears on the face of that girl or boy – it’s divine…I can say with pride that I have seen God. Not once, not twice, not hundreds but thousands of times in my life.”

On dealing with opposition
“I never thought that I can hate them. How could I hate someone? I hate the evil. I hate slavery. I hate the way they are exploiting children, but I don’t hate them. But definitely they hated me. They wanted to take some revenge once I free the children from their houses or lands or factories or mines. It happens. I was attacked several times. When I am talking to you, since last two or three days, I am having a severe pain in my shoulder because my shoulder is having some serious injuries. A ligament. And so is my left leg. I have broken my left foot, and my backbone is broken. My ribs are broken. I have scars on all my body. I tell you, I tell you that these scars and these injuries are nothing in comparison to human freedom.”

Solving the problem of child labor and slavery
“Well the fight against child labor and child slavery, there is a very thin line between them, is not something, which you can win with some isolated approaches. The problem is quite complex. There is a strong element of social cultural mindset. There is another element, which we are talking about: the crime, and illegal earning. Then the third element is also about the social and economic exclusion and inequalities pervading in society. Poverty is a part of it. So we have to attack this evil through many dimensions and many corners.”

The role of education in social justice
“Education is key to social justice and empowerment. And it is so interlinked in the fight against child labor that we cannot achieve one with the other. I have been a big advocate of the general paradigm, what I call it. Poverty, illiteracy, and child labor.”

Appealing to the United Nations for policy support
“I have been demanding to the United Nations General Assembly, UN Secretary General, as well as to the international community, to include explicit language against child slavery in the future development goal…My argument is that we cannot achieve most of the development goals without ending slavery. Human slavery, in general, child slavery in particular.”

Working with President Obama and other world leaders
“Well I had a very good meeting with the White House today. And a couple of months ago I had a very good meeting with President Obama when he was visiting India and the First Lady, both. And we have discussed all these issues of child labor, child slavery, the role of corporate sector, rather the responsibility and the accountability of the international corporations. We did work on it.

“We demanded that US should take a lead role in inclusion of this explicit language against child slavery in the future development agenda. That could be the beginning of it. And then US can take an important role in realization of that particular aspect of child slavery and the broader development paradigm. I hope that it will happen because President Obama was very positive when I spoke to him about it during my meeting. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was very, very positive and I think that Mr. Moon will take it up and he in principle agreed with that. I spoke to a number of other presidents and prime ministers, queens, et cetera to help with this. Nobody can say that child slavery is inevitable, child slavery can continue or should continue. Nobody can say, but the question is the political will. We have to have the global, political will against the menace of child slavery.”

Working at the local level
“Wherever the power is decentralized, of course with a lot of preparation, wherever the democracy is authentic and inclusive and vibrant, wherever the people feel the responsibility, and the governance also is professional and honest, then we will see positive changes on the ground…Governance must be in place. And the people from the ground should be convinced that they are going to make their community a child friendly community, or their city is a child friendly city.”

Dangers created by the recent earthquake in Nepal
“More than 30,000 classrooms have been demolished…if we are not able to build schools and ensure education or continuity in education, then the big danger is trafficking. The children could be trafficked. They’re already in bad shape. They are traumatized. They are still facing a lot of fear and horror of earthquake…Sometimes the children are kidnapped and then brainwashed, manipulated, misused by the fanatic and religious fundamentalist forces. These children could become suicide bombers, these children could be trained for any kind of violence and terrorism. So the dangers are looming in many places.”

When his mission will be complete
“When I started in 1981, there was nothing with UNICEF, ILO, with any organization of United Nations. The UN system started assessing the magnitude of the problem about say, 16-17 years ago. And at that time, the number of child laborers in the world was – only 17 years ago – number of child laborers in the world was 260 million, approximately. And that has gone down to 168 million, just in this short time. It’s a long time for the children, but in the human history it is short time. In 17-18 years, we were able to do it. We can achieve it. The number of out-of-school children was 130 million. That has been decreased to 68 million and then now, the recent figure is 58 million.

“That’s progress, definitely…But for me, every single child matters. Even if one single child is in slavery anywhere in the world, I am not going to sit in peace. I cannot remain quiet. And I hope that others will also raise their voice, because we live in a world, which is so interconnected.”

How everyday Americans can get involved
“The world is so interconnected, at least after 9/11, it’s very clear that the problem could be born in one part of the world and the entire world has to suffer. Terrorism is interconnected and unfortunately it is growing. Global warming and climate change is interconnected, which is growing. Nobody can say that we are safe and let the world become warmer and warmer, the climate may change and we are safe. No, no. So is the issue of children. If we are not able to address the problem of children now, if we are not going to ensure them good quality, free, inclusive education, then we cannot live in a peaceful and safe world.

“So Americans must realize this, first of all, that they have to have a broader outlook. It cannot be just American outlook. The young people in America should be taught to become more global citizen. So more shared values, more shared responsibilities, more shared thinking in making this world better. So the value of global citizenship is a must here. Then as consumers, one should demand only those goods, which are free from child labor. It is not fair that the children are exploited in making Apples and soccer balls and other toys in one part of the world and you keep on using happily and saying, “No, no this is not my thing. This is not my problem.” No, it is your problem because you are part of it. And I have been saying, that if you are not a part of solution, then you are part of problem.”

Meet-Up for Childhood Freedom

2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, is joining supporters to celebrate freedom for the world’s children — freedom from slavery, labor, childhood hunger, trafficking and illiteracy. This peaceful gathering will honor the collective work being accomplished combined with a reminder of the significant work ahead to make childhood freedom a priority on both national and international agendas.

The meet-up will take place Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 4 pm at the Lincoln Memorial. All are welcome. More information at lincoln.satyarthi.org.

House of Cards Creator Beau Willimon Wants to Put an End to Sexual Assault

“With her students, she (Katie Cappiello) wrote SLUT: The Play — about a 16-year-old girl who’s sexually assaulted by three guy friends, and the backlash that follows. Slut debuted in New York in February 2013, with the same teenage girls who helped develop the project as its actresses.

“After getting attention from the likes of Hillary Clinton and Amy Poehler, Cappiello is preparing for Slut’s Washington premiere. On May 19 at the Warner Theatre, theatergoers will catch a glimpse of Beau Willimon, the creator of House of Cards and a big supporter of the project, who will be speaking alongside US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive, and others.”

Read more via Washingtonian: House of Cards Creator Beau Willimon Wants to Put an End to Sexual Assault

Blue Star Families 5th Anniversary Celebration

Last night, Blue Star Families celebrated its 5th Anniversary with an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The event recognized Mark Johnson, 2015 Blue Star Neighbor of the Year, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces nationwide initiative, and The Creative Coalition.

Sheila Casey, Chairman BSF Board of Directors and Chief Operating Officer of The Hill, and Connie Milstein, Founding BSF Board Member and Principal and Co-founder of Ogden CAP Properties, LLC were the event co-chairs. Bob Woodruff, ABC News anchor and reporter and author of In an Instant, emceed the presentations.

“What started as a passionate discussion across Facebook and Skype between military family members has grown into a vibrant and meaningful mission for Blue Star Families and our members,” explains Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO. “Our goal is to strengthen military families and our nation by connecting communities and fostering leadership. Thanks to our extraordinary partnerships, such as those with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative and The Creative Coalition, we are mobilizing hundreds of thousands of military family members to engage with programs and resources that improve their lives, enhancing careers for those married to a service member, producing nationally-recognized research, and connecting America to the military.”

Blue Star Families serves 1.5 million military family members annually through its programs and resources with 50 chapters at home and overseas. Each of its programs, including Blue Star Museums, Operation Honor Corps, Caregivers Empowering Caregivers, Blue Star Careers, and Military Family Lifestyle Survey depends on the partnership of caring civilian organizations, institutions, and individuals.

Cafe Milano hosts Oscar Party to support Dog Tag Bakery

Prominent Georgetown institution, Cafe Milano, hosted an Oscar night watch party and champagne buffet, the proceeds of which benefited Dog Tag Bakery, an education and training program for wounded veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce. The crowd also cheered on Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper, who became part of the Cafe Milano family when he attended Georgetown University.

Cafe Milano owner Franco Nuschese said, “Bradley Cooper is a dear friend and we are so proud of his success and his support of the military. Tonight, we honor the service of all members of the military and the good work Dog Tag Bakery is doing to help veterans transition to the workforce.” Nuschese also thinks American Sniper is Cooper’s best performance ever.

Dog Tag Bakery co-founders Constance Milstein and Father Richard Curry said, “We are so thrilled with the continued support of our fellow Georgetown business leaders. It only makes sense to cheer on former Georgetowner Bradley Cooper at Café Milano and to make tonight about helping our servicemen and women.”

Dog Tag Bakery realizes the passions of Milstein (Connie’s Baking Co.) and Curry (“Secrets of Jesuit Bread Making”) to serve a delicious variety of baked goods, with proceeds from sales supporting the entrepreneurship of vets and their families through experience and a high-quality business education.

Cafe Milano is celebrated for 22 years as the premier restaurant and meeting place in Georgetown. Owner Franco Nuschese is a patron of Dog Tag Bakery. He is member of the board of directors of the Global Virus Network and of the Atlantic Council of the United States. Nuschese is Minister-Counselor of the Order of Malta.

Steve Case on supporting freedom of press and celebrating philanthropy during WHCD weekend

“The weekend started about supporting freedom of the press…but it’s great that events like the Garden Brunch celebrate things that are happening in the philanthropic world.” Steve Case spoke about the importance of bringing people together during White House Correspondents Weekend to support great causes such as Dog Tag Bakery and Blue Star Families.

High School Author Brings Hope With Her Words

The works of Alexis Doyle, a senior at St. Andrew's Episcopal School

The works of Alexis Doyle, a senior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland

Alexis Doyle hasn’t graduated from St. Andrew’s Episcopol School, yet she’s already able to confidentanly state she’s a published author. A three-time published author and her latest with a forward from the internationally acclaimed neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson,Jr. who performed surgery on her when she was just 3 months old.

That’s no small feat for any author, especially one that’s still handling school work and grades. As The Sentinel reported Alexis wrote her first book at the age of 13.

Alexis’ books are inspired by her own struggles, having been born with craniosynostosis, a condition that fuses cranial bones together at birth, and with differences in her hands and feet. Spanning five major surgeries over the next 17 years, Alexis has certainly experienced the challenge of overcoming major adversity.

“I have found that one of the best ways I have been able to overcome my challenges is to help others overcome theirs,” she said. “That is why I decided at a very young age to author books for kids to help them deal with their own challenges and to let them know they are not alone. I have published my third book in the series that I hope to continue throughout my life.”

Author Alexis Doyle

photo: Alexis Doyle.

The books (“Jesse and His New Baby Sister,” “Ethan the Big Brother” and the most recent, “Alexis And Her Hospital Friends”) illustrate the challenges dealt with by, not only Alexis’ family, but also the families of 2 close friends. They show in a very simple format, easily understood by young children, how the families overcame their challenges and, further, they provide reassurance for other children who struggle with any condition or difficult life situation. In the forward to her newest book, her neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Sr. provided:

“In this book, Alexis Doyle who has had many experiences as a patient during her early years of life, uses those experiences to help children see that the people working at the hospital are their friends and are there to make their lives better. She also helps children use their imagination. I hope this book finds its way into the children’s library of every hospital and into the offices of many pediatricians.”

Alexis Doyle’s books can be purchased at Lexy’s Books on Facebook.