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Parents always want the best for their children, but in an increasingly overwhelming world, it can be hard to stay positive. As a society, we need to actively work harder to inspire future generations to protect our planet and its people. Thankfully, there are many amazing role models out there that can motivate children to get involved in making the world a better place.

Top 5 Role Models for Children

  1. Malala YousafzaiMalala is one of the most famous role models of our time. She was born in the small village of Mingora, Pakistan, where it was uncommon for girls to go to school. At just 11 years old, she was forced out of school when the Taliban, the Sunni Islamist military organization, took control of her village. After speaking out about gender equality and the right to learn, she was shot in the head at 15 years old. At this point, most people would have given up, but not Malala. She kept fighting and made her own organization called the Malala Fund—a charity dedicated to fighting for equal rights and providing girls worldwide the opportunity to attend school. That year, she became the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize and later went on to graduate from Oxford University.
  2. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, has made headlines across the United States. One of the most progressive candidates, and backed by Senator Bernie Sanders, AOC recently got reelected and kept her spot as a representative for New York’s 14th congressional district at just 30 years old. AOC has been vocal about the wealth inequality gap, racial discrimination and climate change. In a time of uncertainty, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s election has been seen as a progression toward an equal world.
  3. Pink — Alecia Beth Moore, known professionally as Pink, has not only achieved momentous achievements as a singer but has often used her fame to advocate for equality and children’s rights. As a UNICEF ambassador, Pink raises awareness about global poverty, malnutrition and access to education and medicine. Moreover, Pink has supported charities related to HIV/AIDS, animal rights and women’s rights, among others. The famous singer even gets her children involved in the work, making sure to instill a sense of charity in them. At one of her rehearsals, Pink’s daughter set up a backstage candy sale to raise money for the impoverished communities in Haiti. This is a great way to get the kids involved and inspire them to do more on their own.
  4. Selena Gomez — Seen as a triple threat in the entertainment industry, Selena Gomez is another fantastic role model for children. In addition to her successful career, Gomez has consistently shown support for various charities and philanthropic endeavors worldwide. She was also appointed a UNICEF ambassador in 2009 and has dedicated a lot of time to improve societal and economic equality in the world by participating in various UNICEF campaigns and continuing charitable work on her own. Recently, Gomez has used her social media platforms to spread awareness about the social and racial injustices in the United States. Selena Gomez has also shown support for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Malala Fund and Free the Children, among others.
  5. Matt DamonMatt Damon is an incredible actor who is no stranger to charity work. He has pledged to provide clean water for impoverished communities worldwide by creating his nonprofit organization. In 2009, Matt Damon and Gary White co-founded Water.org that helps more than 17 countries receive clean water and sanitation supplies. Additionally, Water.org, through its WaterCredit program and microfinancing, supports households living in poverty with loans to obtain essential water systems, making clean water safe, cost-effective and accessible for more than 30 million people.

There are many fantastic role models worldwide that demonstrate how crucial nonprofit organizations are in improving people’s standards of living worldwide. Yet, perhaps the most important role models are the parents at home. Teach children about the real impact of charity work and get them involved in both local and global humanitarian organizations. As children grow older, they will start to venture off on their own charity projects, ensuring a brighter and equal future.

Karin Filipova
Photo: Flickr

Zade Dirani becomes a UNICEF Ambassador
Zade Dirani recently became the Regional UNICEF Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa. The famous Jordanian pianist is continuing on with his steadfast involvement in advocacy and charity work. Dirani joins the ranks of other ambassadors like Egyptian actor, Mahmoud Kabil and Lebanese entertainer, Nancy Ajram.

Previously, as the founder of the Zade Foundation for International Peace and Understanding, Dirani demonstrated a passion for helping others.

Now in his new partnership with UNICEF, he will be working to further the rights of children in the Middle East and North Africa, with a special focus on children caught in conflict or dealing with violence and poverty.

Dirani is an immensely talented pianist. Previously described as a “Piano Prodigy” by People Magazine, he has touched tens of thousands of people in live performances, including Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth.

In the past, through his namesake foundation, Dirani used his musical talent working with young musicians to foster a culture of peace and understanding. Work done through the Zade Foundation attempts to create peace builders and future community leaders.

The piano superstar is already hard at work. Dirani went on his first a field visit as a UNICEF Ambassador to a Za’atari, Jordan refugee camp and to the neighboring town of Mafraq, Jordan.

There, he played for groups of around 300 children and adolescents. Dirani met and spoke to youth from various different backgrounds, bringing joy to many who had fled the violence in Syria.

Dirani spoke about the experience saying, “I wanted to bring my music to children and youth – today and in the months to come – as a way to engage them and become a form of therapy for those who have witnessed things that no child should ever experience.” His talent and commitment to his cause are inspiring and a valuable asset to UNICEF.

Jordan Little

Photo: Flickr