Harnoor Gill

GCM 2016Harnoor Gill

Harnoor Gill – World Vision Canada

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Before we can make a difference, we have to embrace our differences. Harnoor Gill, a current ambassador for World Vision Canada, learned this lesson at a very young age while attending school in Hong Kong. A very shy child, acutely aware of how his Punjabi background made him stand out from his peers during preparation for his school’s ‘international day,’ Harnoor was able to overcome his anxiety through the support of his parents, and share elements of his culture with his classmates. A small step, but one with a deep impact – “Since… that day, my life changed and I felt so proud [that I could] change the world just… by lending my talent.”

After moving to Peel region and attending school there, Harnoor was inspired to found his group the ‘Peace Welcome Club’, dedicated to sharing volunteer opportunities and encouraging youth to make a difference. He wanted to create the kind of space he wished had existed for him earlier in his youth – one that helped welcome him as a newcomer to Canada, and encouraged him to volunteer from a young age. “When I was an immigrant, I didn’t feel like there were many opportunities for a kid like me to be a part of,” Harnoor says. “So I decided to become the voice of youth and raise awareness among newcomer youth in Canada.” Through this effort he hopes to accomplish some demographic capacity-building, and to achieve global change by supporting and promoting other youth that care about global change.

By encouraging youth to become and remain committed to the causes they believe in, he feels that we can accomplish real successes across a range of issues. Harnoor has been able, through his own group and involvement with other non-profit organizations such as World Vision Canada, the Laidlaw Foundation and Crime Stoppers of Halton, to engage with thousands of youth both in Canada, and in his parents’ homeland of India, helping them to become activists in their own right. “No matter what your age is, you can raise your voice on issues that matter to you in your very own community… when the community grows, everyone grows” he explains. Harnoor summarizes his views with a line from one of his heroes, Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

World Vision Canada is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice and serving all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

In celebration of International Development Week 2016 OCIC is recognizing Lainey, Robin and Sarah as three of seven Ontario youth in the Global Changemaker Youth Ambassadors program for their contributions to international cooperation and social justice.

For full stories on all seven Global Changemaker Youth Ambassadors visit ocic.on.ca/what-we-do/influence-by-informing/ocic-global-changemaker-youth-ambassadors-2016/

More information on OCIC’s International Development Week 2016 activities: ocic.on.ca/what-we-do/influence-by-informing/international-development-week-2016-program

This initiative is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

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