Free The Children

Free The Children
Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI)

Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI)

February 24, 2014 09:00 ET

Students Across Canada to Change National Dialogue on Aboriginal Culture, History and Education

Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative and Free The Children launch fourth annual We Stand Together campaign

Join the conversation at freethechildren.com/westandtogether

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 24, 2014) -

Editors Note: This picture is available on the Canadian Press picture wire via Marketwired.

Today Free The Children and the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative's founder, The Right Honourable Paul Martin kick-started the fourth annual We Stand Together campaign - dedicated to starting a dialogue about Aboriginal culture, rights and history. The nation-wide campaign encourages youth to raise their voices and engages Canadians in the conversation around the challenges and successes of Aboriginal Peoples today.

Aboriginal Peoples make-up the youngest and fastest-growing segment of our population, yet many
non-Aboriginal Canadians do not feel equipped to join the growing dialogue on Aboriginal issues. By engaging youth across the country in conversations about the experiences of Aboriginal Peoples, Free The Children and the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI) hope to inspire educators and families to work together to help create a more equal, open and prosperous future for all Canadians.

As part of the We Stand Together campaign, each weekday from February 24 to March 7, 2014, Free The Children and MAEI will spark dialogue with daily facts emailed to participants and posted on Free The Children's social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The daily facts will be accompanied by lesson plans, classroom activities and background information to help youth and educators dig deeper and initiate conversations in their classrooms and communities.

"Our country's future depends on the success of all young people, particularly Aboriginal youth, so we must ensure that all Canadians are given the same opportunities to learn and achieve," said The Right Honourable Paul Martin. "By reaching out to schools and community organizations, Canada's indigenous youth will move the conversation forward and help pave the way for a more equal, inclusive and successful Canada."

"Aboriginal culture and history are an important part of Canada's identity and a key component of our national dialogue," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children. "Through open discussion, today's youth can break down the barriers from our past and stand together to create a culture where all young Canadians, regardless of their backgrounds, or where they live, have the same access to education, and opportunities to succeed."

Since the campaign began, over 1,000 schools and 49,000 student leaders have participated in We Stand Together; learning from local elders, gaining a better understanding of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and creating open discussions with peers in the community and on social media to help change the national dialogue around Aboriginal issues and create a new path for Canada's future.

This year, Canadians can join the conversation and participate in We Stand Together by signing-up at freethechildren.com/westandtogether, or following Free The Children on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @freethechildren #westandtogether.

About Free The Children

Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The organization's domestic programs - which include We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event - educate, engage and empower 2.3 million youth across North America and UK become engaged global citizens. Its international projects are implemented through a holistic and sustainable development model called Adopt a Village. Currently, Adopt a Village supports community development in eight countries; Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua, rural China and India. Through its international programming, Free The Children has brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care and sanitation to 1 million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty.

The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non‐Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For more information, visit www.freethechildren.com

About Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative

The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI) was established in 2008 in order to initiate a variety of educational projects designed to provide Aboriginal Canadians with the opportunities they need to succeed. MAEI brings together Aboriginal organizations, the business community, post-secondary institutions, First Nation schools and provincially and territorially-funded school boards to implement programs to support Aboriginal students. Our goal is to implement initiatives that improve education at the elementary and secondary school levels for Aboriginal Canadians.

MAEI was recognized for its work by the International Education Business Partnership Network and awarded the 2012 Global Best Award. MAEI believes that the development of knowledge and skills will provide Aboriginal youth with an incentive to continue their education. Projects are chosen in discussion with the pertinent Aboriginal leadership, provincial and territorial education authorities, and local business communities. For more information, visit http://www.maei-ieam.ca/.

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