TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI) together with international children's charity and educational partner,
Free The Children, is launching its second annual campaign: "Local Spotlight: Aboriginal
Education." Part of a larger year-round program, this campaign educates
students about Aboriginal culture, traditions and history, as well as
engages them in meaningful dialogue on the topic of Aboriginal issues
Aboriginal People have the fastest growing demographic in this country,
but the people face many issues. For example, the school dropout rate
in Canada averages about 9.5 percent, but is about 60 percent for First
nations People living on reserves.
Free The Children and MAEI have teamed up to make Aboriginal issue a
long-term priority and provide a platform for today's youth to better
understand the challenges faced by Aboriginal People, thereby helping
to break down barriers.
"MAEI's goal is to make sure every Aboriginal student in Canada goes to
a school where they can get a decent education," said the Right
Honourable Paul Martin. "Working with Free The Children on this program
is an important step in the direction of ensuring that future
generations of Canadians of aboriginal origin are given the same
opportunities as all other Canadians."
Local Spotlight: Aboriginal Education, taking place from February 13 -
24, 2012, is a two week curriculum program designed for educators to
engage their students in Aboriginal history, culture and tradition.
Lesson plans, daily facts, and action guides, created for both
elementary and secondary students explore the challenges and
opportunities for Aboriginal People in this country. Students are then
called to take action to educate their family and friends by sharing
what they learn through this tailored program.
"MAEI's strong belief in education, coupled with its dedication and
commitment towards bringing equality to Canada's Aboriginal community
is inspirational to all of us at Free The Children," said Craig
Kielburger, Co-founder, Free The Children. "We are honoured to be
partnering with MAEI on this initiative, working closely to educate
today's youth on the issues faced by their Aboriginal peers and help
them take action in support of building a stronger Canada."
The Local Spotlight is just one part of a year-round initiative to
support and raise awareness of the Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.
Speakers at Free The Children's We Day events, attended by more than 60,000 youth and educators Canada-wide,
educate youth on some of the challenges faced by their Aboriginal
peers, empowering them to take action. Past speakers include aboriginal
activist Waneek Horn-Miller; Sharon Conway, General Manager at Louis
Riel Institute; Chief M. Bryan LaForme; Shawn Atleo; Ghislain Picard;
Justice Sinclaire; and the former Grand Chief of the Assembly of
Manitoba Chiefs, Dennis White Bird.
Curriculum, campaign resources, video and outreach presentations are
also available to teachers, to educate youth year-round and continue
In 2011, 357 groups signed up for Local Spotlight; 9,000 students were
directly involved, and 178,500 others were indirectly involved through
peer-to-peer sharing of daily facts.
For more information about the Local Spotlight: Aboriginal Education
program, please visit www.freethechildren.com/aboriginaleducation
For more information about the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative,
please visit www.maei-ieam.ca
About the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative
The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI) is a charitable
organization that supports education for Aboriginal students across
Canada. MAEI's guiding vision is to empower Aboriginal students with
the knowledge and confidence they need to complete secondary school and
go on to post-secondary studies. MAEI has initiated various educational
projects designed to provide Aboriginal Canadians with the
opportunities they need to succeed. MAEI brings together Aboriginal
organizations, accounting professionals, the business community,
post-secondary institutions, First Nation schools and
provincially-funded school boards to implement programs to support
About Free The Children
Free The Children is the world's largest network of children helping
children through education, with more than one million youth involved
in our innovative education and development programs in 45 countries.
Founded in 1995 by international child rights activist Craig
Kielburger, we are a charity and educational partner that believes in a
world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest
potential as agents of change. Our domestic programs educate, engage
and empower hundreds of thousands of youth in North America, the UK and
around the world. Our international projects have brought over 650
schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care
and sanitation to one million people around the world.
Free The Children has a proven track record of success. The organization
has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child
(also known as the Children's Nobel Prize), 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 additional information, please visit www.freethechildren.com
SOURCE Free the Children
For further information:
Free The Children
(416) 925-5894 ext. 827