TORONTO, Canada (RPRN) 04/21/09â€“ At the age of twelve, author, fundraiser and UNICEF Childrenâ€™s Ambassador Bilaal Rajan is asking people of all ages to kick off their shoes and go barefoot in support of his latest campaign for change.Â Rajan is leading his own initiative during National Volunteer Week (April 19 to 25) by living life barefoot to raise awareness of less privileged children worldwide, many of whom cannot afford shoes, let alone attend school.
â€œMy goal is to inspire one million children to take action and help create a more peaceful and caring world. I want kids to find their passion, get involved and make a difference in the lives of others.â€Â UNICEF Childrenâ€™s Ambassador Bilaal Rajan
People can visit Rajanâ€™s website at www.makingchangenow.com to learn more about the barefoot campaign and sign up. â€œThis initiative is a call to action,â€ he says. â€œAnd when people ask me why I donâ€™t have shoes, Iâ€™ll tell them because millions of children throughout the world donâ€™t either.â€
Rajanâ€™s Barefoot Challenge is expected to be one of the largest celebrations of volunteerism in North America. Participants include Nigel Fisher, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada, ORCA book publishers, award-winning novelist Eric Walters, members of the World Partnership Walk Committee, and students from Ottawa, Calgary and Montreal. The idea is growing fast and has encouraged people to participate in countries as far away as Australia, Afghanistan, England, Switzerland, Thailand, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania.
Rajan is already a serious and influential force. His recently-published book, Making Change: Tips from an Underage Overachiever (160 pages, Orca Book Publishers), is an operating manual for making a difference, no matter what your age. Proceeds from sales of the book are used to fund programs that help children throughout the world.
At 4, Rajan sold clementine oranges door-to-door, raising money for victims of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India. Since then, he has raised millions for various causes. At 8, he founded Hands for Help, an organization dedicated to heightening awareness of childrenâ€™s issues and fundraising for those in need. In 2005, he was chosen as an official Child Ambassador for UNICEF Canada. Rajan has his own documentary, Yes We Can!, produced by In Sync Video, which premiered on April 19, 2009 at the Sprockets Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, where the barefoot campaign officially kicked off.
Rajan believes that in these challenging economic times, we need to reach out even more, volunteer our time, and help those in need.
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