A couple weeks ago, I had the honour of meeting an amazing young man named Michel Chikwanine(chick-wah-nee-nay), and hearing him speak to a group of college students.
I've never met anyone quite like Michel. He grew up in the Republic of Congo, and at 5 years old was kidnapped and made into a child soldier. He was able to escape his captors, but only to go home where a few years later rebels broke into his home and forced him to watch at his mother and sisters were gang raped. The family managed to escape Congo and made it to a refugee camp in Uganda, and Michel and his mother eventually made it to Canada--one of his sisters and father were killed during this process.
This is definitely not the end or all of Michel's story, and the way he has handled it with such maturity is amazing to me. Especially because, at the end of his speech, a student raised his hand and asked "Is the War in Africa still going on?"
This astounded me. Sometimes I forget that not all young people have a connection to the world outside of their own--not all young people frequent CNN or watch the nightly news. But, the War in Africa, since 1994, has killed more people than WWI and WWII combined...and I feel that it is necessary for everyone to know about it.
Michel travels and shares his story with people all over the world with a group called Me to We.
Me to We offers leadership programs, volunteer trips to Kenya, India, Mexico, Educador, China and even Arizona, tour inspirational speakers to education people about particular world matters and even overcoming difficult obsticles. And they do all this while making the environmental carbon impact as low as possible. They also sell organic and donate one tee shirt (or one book, depending on what you buy) for every one tee shirt purchased.
But, the best thing about Me to We is that they donate 50% of their profits to Free the Children.
What is Free the Children, you ask? Well, you'll just have to wait for the next Tuesday Tribute :)
But, if you want to here a little bit of how Michel delivers his amazing inspiration...