As a child, my experience in Sri Lanka was the only case when my potential to contribute meaningfully was valued. Frustration was mounting, and after speaking with child survivors in Sri Lanka who expressed their desire to be decision-makers in matters that affect them, I knew I had to act. Speaking with them had left
an indelible mark on me, and taught me a valuable lesson: freedom is more than the absence of exploitation; it’s also having a voice and being listened to.
Guided by this lesson, upon my return to Canada, I undertook further research, which prompted me to identify a void in the child rights arena: a youth-driven organization that would provide the tools, training, and meaningful opportunities for youth to take a stand against CSEC. After identifying a need to institutionalize, and sustain, meaningful, quality participation of , and children/youth , at 19, I
founded OneChild, the premiere organization, empowering a movement of children and youth taking action against child sex slavery through public education, advocacy, and child survivor support.
I have developed the organization into a multiple award-winning INGO, benefiting and empowering 35, 000+ child survivors and their families, non-experiential youth, law enforcement, social workers, judges, and community members in 15 countries. It has been recognized as one of the top 5 Canadian Charities run by
Young Professionals, and OneChild’s model has been replicated by youth organizations in Canada and the U.S.
I have been pioneering in the field in Canada and abroad, filling a resounding gap by initiating public education campaigns; leadership programs to empower youth to protect themselves and fight against CSEC; and policy change; and providing capacity-building for law enforcement/social workers; and solely-needed survivor services such as shelter, education, therapy, legal/medical aid.
For over a decade, I have worked non-stop to develop a group of passionate, Canadian teenagers into a full-fledged organization that has motivational speaking tours to North American high schools/universities; in-class curricular resources; youth-friendly information hub; youth coordinator support/mentorship; online toolkits; awareness-raising, advocacy, fundraising campaigns for youth-led
organizations and schools.