Have you ever wondered what remarkable kids are out there making a difference? Too often adults discount kids as silly, immature, irresponsible, and not capable of taking on large tasks. The tragedy is that many kids believe that lie, too. Luckily, history has shown all it takes is for one child to stand up for what they believe in, and amazing things can happen. From children fighting the problem of hunger to freeing kids from slavery, so many have changed things for the better. Ready to hear about who these kids are? Here are 25 Remarkable Kids Who Changed The World.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple invention to radically alter the world. In Chester Greenwood’s case, it was his invention of the earmuffs at the age of 15. The idea came out of wanting to ice skate on the ponds longer than he could without getting frostbite. At first, he was mocked for wearing them, but eventually, everyone had a pair and it made his family prosper from the sales.
Bailee Madison is a young actress who devotes much of her time to philanthropy through “Alex’s Lemonade Stand,” an organization helping kids make their own lemonade stands to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer treatments.
As a young girl, Thandiwe Chama is a youth education activist in Zambia. In 2007 at the age of 16, she received the Children’s Peace Prize. She believes every child should have access to education and has gained fame for her bravery in standing up for her cause despite her young age.
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah’s story is harrowing, to say the least. As a young disabled boy living in Ghana, he was abandoned by his father and orphaned due to his mother’s death. Instead of becoming a beggar, he decided to bike ride around his country to raise awareness that disability doesn’t mean inability. He rose to fame and since then has been working to help the two million disabled people in Ghana.
Nkosi Johnson was a South African child who was born with HIV. He became a statistic. Every year 70,000 children are born with HIV and very few live longer than two years. In Nkosi Johnson’s case, however, he lived to reach the age of 12. He rose to fame when he spoke at the 13th International Aids Conference in Durban in front of 10,000 people. Up unto his death, he worked to help de-stigmatize AIDS and let children with the disease go to school.
Kelvin Doe was a poor 15-year-old living in Sierra Leone who taught himself engineering. He figured out how to build generators using scrap around his neighborhood. He also built an FM radio transmitter, battery to power lights, and an audio mixer. David Sengeh of MIT was so impressed by him, he invited Kelvin Doe to visit the Visiting Practitioner’s Program on campus. He guest lectured at Harvard and presented a TED Teen talk.
Margaret E. Knight
After witnessing an accident at a textile mill, Margaret E. Knight got to work on her first invention at the age of 12. The device she made would automatically stop a machine if something got caught in it. Later, she invented the machine that would fold and glue paper bag bottoms to be flat, and the world would never be the same.
As a young 10-year-old living in Pakistan, Iqbal Masih was given over to laborers as a slave because his mother couldn’t pay her debt. Working long hours in a sweatshop, Masih eventually tried to escape but corrupt policemen threw him right back in where he started. At the age of 12, he became a prominent leader in the anti-slave movement in Pakistan and would risk his life to help free other children in slavery. 3,000 children escaped because of his rallies. Sadly, after a visit to speak in the United States, he was assassinated when he returned to Pakistan.
Winter Vinecki set and achieved her of goal of running a marathon on every continent before she turned 15. She even set the record for youngest person to do so. She did it in honor of her father who had died of an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Om Prakash Gurjar
Om Prakash Gurjar was thrown into slavery at the age of 5 in India. When he was finally freed, he was eager to fight against the institution and worked hard to work through the government and law to free other children like him. He also helped children receive a free education when schools in India were still charging for it.
Dylan Mahalingam started his first foundation called Lil’ MDGs, a non-profit international development and youth empowerment organization, at the age of 9. It’s gone on to help 3 million children around the world work on a variety of issues. Dylan’s been a speaker at the United Nations and the recipient of numerous awards.
In South Africa during the horrific Apartheid, Hector Pieterson was a 13-year-old black boy who got shot by a white police officer while protesting. When a picture was taken of his brother carrying him to safety, it was published in the newspapers, resulting in a global outcry that helped turn the tide on Apartheid.
Alexandra "Alex" Scott
Alexandra “Alex” Scott was diagnosed with a childhood cancer known as neuroblastoma. At the age of 4, she started her own lemonade stand to raise awareness about cancer. She raised $2,000 and started her own foundation. She ended up raising $1 million before passing away at the age of 8. The foundation continues to raise awareness and funding.
In 1982, a young American schoolgirl didn’t understand why the United States and the Soviet Union were enemies. She wrote a letter to the Soviet Union’s president, Yuri Andropov, asking why relations were so tense. Her letter was published in Pravda and she was invited to meet the Russian president herself. She later acted as America’s youngest ambassador to Japan before dying at age 13 in a plane crash.
In first grade, Ryan Hreljac heard about how people had to walk for miles to get dirty water in Africa. He decided he wanted to raise funds to build a well and organized his entire classroom to help. As a result, he created the Ryan’s Well Foundation, an organization working to bring clean water to people in Africa.
At the age of 14, Easton LaChapelle built his first robotic limb with Legos and fishing wire. Later, he built a functional prosthetic limb and used 3D printing technology to build it. He was invited by NASA to work on their Robonaut team.
By the name alone, you could probably figure out what Louis Braille did. Yes, he was a blind boy who invented braille, the code of bumps that has helped blind people read and write. He developed it from the ages of 12 to 15.
Katie Stagliano started Katie’s Krops, an organization growing food to help feed hungry people. Katie’s dream is to stop hunger. There are now 100 Katie’s Krops gardens across the United States and all are youth based.
Fleeing Jewish persecution, Anne Frank and her family went to Amsterdam and hid from the Nazi’s for two years. They were later caught and Anne Frank died with her sister in the concentration camps. Her diary was published and read by millions, giving people a fuller understanding of what life was like during the Holocaust.
Many have heard how Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat when asked to move to the back of the bus, but few realize Claudette Colvin, at the age of 15 years old, did the same thing a few months prior. She was arrested, thrown in jail, and later given probation. In the Browder vs. Gayle case, she became one of four plaintiffs claiming the segregated bus system was unconstitutional.
At 7-years-old, Riley Hebbard saw a problem. The children in Darfur, Africa didn’t have toys to play with, only dirt and rocks. After wanting to donate her toys to them, she started an entire foundation called Riley’s Toys to donate toys to kids in Africa.
Blare Gooch was brought to tears at the devastation brought about by the earthquake in Haiti. Remembering how a teddy bear comforted him, he decided to start donating teddy bears to the island of Haiti. He started Blare’s Bears for Haiti and donated 25,000 bears with the help of others. The organization now collects other supplies for Haiti as well.
Growing up visiting homeless shelters with his mother (who worked at them), Nicholas Lowinger realized many of the kids didn’t have very good shoes. In response, he started the Gotta Have Sole Foundation to donate new shoes to homeless children.
Cassandra Lin is a young Asian-American environmentalist and philanthropist who started T.G.I.F (Turn Grease Into Fuel). It’s an organization that takes thrown out grease from restaurants and converts it into fuel for poorer communities. The foundation collects 4,000 gallons of grease per month from 113 different restaurants.
Defying the Taliban in Pakistan as a young girl, Malala Yousafzai demanded girls be able to receive an education. In 2012, she was shot in the back of the head but survived. Since then, she’s spoken at the United Nations, published an autobiography, received the Nobel Peace Prize, and continues to fight for the right for females to receive an education.
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