By Serena Hockenbury
We all know Christmas is coming up and around this time of year many people globally donate to a good cause, whether its money, clothes, food, and even their time. For example, kids at the Broad Meadows Middle School in Quincy, Massachusetts and 36 other middle schools around the world started a fundraiser for children in Pakistan. This all started when the death of Iqbal Masih occurred.
Iqbal Masih was four years old when he was sold by his father for $12 into a bonded labor with carpet manufacturer in Pakistan. He ran away from the factory when he was 10 and joined an organization that fought against bonded labor and worked to educate child workers about their rights.
Iqbal was 12 when he visited the middle school in Quincy, Massachusetts. Iqbal inspired the students by telling them about his experience speaking out against child labor and working to free other children. In his country, 7.5 million children were enslaved, and there were as many as 200 million more around the world. What Iqbal really wanted was for children to be able to attend school and not be forced into bonded labor during their childhood.
In the spring of 1995, four months after returning home, Iqbal was murdered in broad daylight. When the students from the school heard about what happened to Iqbal, they decided to do something to honor his memory. What Iqbal really wanted was a school for children in his country, so the students decided they would build him one. They used the slogan “A bullet can’t kill a dream,” and the students sent out an email that told the story of Iqbal’s short life. The e-mail asked for $12, because Iqbal was sold for $12 and because he was 12 years old when he was murdered.
The students received more than 6,000 e-mail replies and more than 3,000 letters in response. Within one year, the students raised more than $147,000. These students worked with a group in Pakistan that administered the building project. The students continued working with other schools to establish a new school each year in a different developing country.
The story of Iqbal’s impact and inspiration on student’s continues, and the school for Iqbal in Pakistan is thriving. If you want to be more involved globally and locally, donate and help someone else in need. There are plenty of other ways you can donate in order to make a difference in the lives of other anywhere in the world.