(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
We all have moments in our lives that define us. Moments where we can choose to protest an injustice, act with kindness, learn something new, open our hearts, or right a wrong.
These moments not only shape who we become, but they also shape the world we want to see. Together, these moments can string together to build movements, and ultimately create change.
And today, we need change:
385 million children across the world are still living in extreme poverty. Inequality levels are rising. And in every crisis and conflict, children are the most vulnerable.
I believe we all have a responsibility to act to create the kind of future where our children and young people can thrive, not just survive. We need to seize the moments that life presents us with.
For me, that moment came when I travelled to Ghana and volunteered at a children’s orphanage:
I asked myself the question why we were only treating parts of the child, providing food, water and shelter – when we needed to look at the whole child: their mental well-being, their ability to play, their family – if they were lucky enough to have one, and their community.
In 2010, my co-founder Frida Vesterberg and I started a holistic community and children’s centre in a township outside Cape Town, South Africa.
Today our organisation Project Playground provides a safe space – a home away from home – for more than 1000 South African children and youth in the townships of Langa and Gugulethu and disadvantaged children and youth here in Sweden.
By being part of Project Playground, children gain self-esteem, determination and belief in the future. Bit by bit and child by child, we know we are making a difference.
But you cannot build a movement on your own. You need support. Not only do you need someone to believe in you, but you need concrete tools, advice, skills and a network to build sustainable organisations and purposeful businesses.
That is why I am very happy to be here today, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Reach for Change. This is a chance for us to honour all of the Change Leaders and social entrepreneurs in their network. But it is also a chance for us to recognise that there is more to be done.
I wish Reach for Change and its community the best of luck with their important work!