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Bilaal Rajen Tells TEDxToronto to Say No to No

 - Sep 26, 2011
References: youtube & tedxtoronto
The theme of this year's TEDxToronto was redefinition, and child activist Bilaal Rajen didn't stray far from that message. Rajen is a child activist who has been raising money for various causes since he was 4 years old.

As NOW Magazine mentioned via Twitter, many founders of charities take to TED as a source to tell the story of their organization, but Bilaal Rajen took an alternate route -- and it made all the difference. By using his past as an example, he urged us to not accept the idea of "no." As children, we say no to going to bed, to vegetables, to one lollipop instead of two, but as we grow older we learn to accept things that we might have otherwise resisted. This is dangerous and Bilaal Rajen repeated during his TEDxToronto talk that we must say no to no. He would have never gotten to where he is today if he had listened to the many people that told him no.

Instead of succombing to discouragement, Bilaal Rajen raised millions of dollars for children around the world, founded a school in Tanzania for HIV/AIDS orphans and ultimately became UNICEF Canada's child ambassador. At TEDxToronto, Rajen cited people like TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie and Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley who are inspirational by saying no to no, and thus, are representative of redefinition itself.

Another message that Bilaal Rajen propelled was "listen hard, don't hardly listen." The delegates at this year's TEDxToronto hands-down took Bilaal Rajen's message to heart as they sat open-eared, open-minded and open-hearted and listened hard, not hardly listened.