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The 11 Most Influential Kids

In a world as big as the one we live in today, it is easy to believe that our actions do little to make a real difference. however, these young children would hear no such thing, moving mountains for what they believed was right at an early age. While some of these stories come from children put in horrendous situations that most of us could never imagine, some of these heart-warming accounts are closer to home.

The next time that you find yourself feeling small in a world that seems incredibly big, remember these influential children and their incredible strength!

11. Yash Gupta

After breaking his glasses when he was 17, Yash Gupta had to wait a week to have his prescription replaced. He found he had trouble doing the most basic things, which peaked his curiosity. After a little research online, he discovered that more than 12 million children across the globe are in need of glasses. Sight Learning was born, a charity that gathers used eye-wear and distributes them to organizations that deliver the glasses to where they are most needed.

10. Adele Ann Taylor

Adele’s Literacy Library (ALL) was founded after 13-year-old Adele realized that some of her classmates had trouble reading, which inspired her to launch her own non-profit organization in order to help others learn to read (ALL has helped approximately 25,000 people improve their reading abilities).

9. Ryan Hreljac

While most six-year-olds spend their allowances on candy or the newest toy on the market, Ryan Hreljac decided to put his pocket money towards something a little bigger. In 1998, one of Hreljac’s teachers informed his class that, in Africa, water was a rare commodity. Ryan decided to raise money to build a well in Africa; he started public speaking to raise awareness about the problem in Africa, which resulted in not only one well being built in Uganda, but a worldwide foundation called Ryan’s Well Foundation,.

8. Alex Scott

Diagnosed with neuroblastoma just shy of her first birthday, Alexandra Scott was the founder of “Alex’s Lemonade Stand”. While selling lemonade might seem like a pretty standard summertime activity for a four-year-old child, Scott had something a little different in mind when she started her stand. While this sweet angel passed away in 2004, she left a legacy behind in the form of a worldwide organization, having raised approximately $500 million dollars for cancer research.

7. Nkosi Johnson (born Xolani Nkosi)

Born to an HIV/AIDS positive mother, Nkosi Johnson was born with the fatal virus. Adopted when he was three years old, Johnson gained media attention when he was refused acceptance to school. As a result, he became an advocate for HIV/AIDS victims, rallying for awareness and equal rights for those suffering with the virus.

6. Om Prakash Gurjar

Along with his family, Om Prakash Gurjar worked as a forced labourer from the age of five until he was eight years old. When members of the activist group Bachpan Bachao Andolan were travelling through India, they came upon Om Prakash Gurjar, who was intrigued at the idea of freedom. Following his freedom from forced labour, Gurjar went on to campaign for children’s rights, resulting in the issuing of 500 birth certificates to Indian children, providing them with the right to a free education.

5. Louis Braille

After an accident in his father’s shop caused him to lose sight in both eyes at the young age of three, Louis Braille enrolled in the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, where he went on to invent braille, which is a reading and writing system for the blind. Although his work was only largely adopted following his death, the method provided people without sight a way to learn to read and write, changing the world for those with eye impairments.

4. Cassandra Lin

In 2008, Cassandra Lin launched Project Turn Grease Into Fuel—when Lin was only ten years old. While the Rhode Island native wanted to do something to help the community, she was also concerned about sustainability and global warming, which resulted in TGIF—a program whose goal is to recycle cooking oil and convert it into biodiesel, which is then donated to companies that provide heating to families in need.

3. Anne Frank

One of the 1.5 million children (1.2 of which were Jewish) who lost their lives to the Holocaust, Anne Frank is known today for her diaries, which were published by her father, Otto Frank, in 1947. Her writing made her into a household name, shedding light on a more personal side of the Holocaust through the chronicling of her life from 1942-1944. Frank, who was 13 at the time, spent two years in hiding in Amsterdam. Discovered in 1944, Frank lost her life to typhus at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

2. Iqbal Masih

When most children are attending kindergarten, Iqbal Masih was getting up early in the morning to begin his day as a slave labourer in a carpet factory in Pakistan, where he would then work well into the evening. Sold when he was only four years old to pay one of his parent’s debts, Masih escaped child slavery twice, joining the fight against child labour as a member of Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF).

1. Malala Yousafzai

Before she survived being shot in the head while riding a school bus in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai was already relatively well known due to the publishing of her diaries on BBC Urdu. Her words revealed that she was passionate about the education of women, despite the Taliban’s efforts to suppress female education in northwest Pakistan (Swat Valley). Targeted for her activism, Yousafzai survived the attack, and has since been awarded the Noble Peace Prize for her advocacy for the education of women in Pakistan.

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