Book a Speaker
Talk to us: 416-272-9932

Cheryl Perera is an accomplished children’s rights activist, a sought-after dynamic speaker, she actively addresses global audiences, including UN agencies, government bodies, business leaders, educators, students, and the media on the importance of children’s rights, social responsibility and volunteerism.

Cheryl is the Founder and President of OneChild, the first organization in the world empowering young people to combat the sexual exploitation of children (SEC), through education, advocacy, and survivor support, benefiting 35, 000+ in 15 countries.

Her career began at age 17, after playing the main role of the decoy in a STING operation with Sri Lankan authorities to apprehend a child sex perpetrator; and earning herself an offer of a placement as the Sri Lankan President’s Nominee on Child Protection Today, her career spans over a decade where she has investigated child sex tourism (CST) cases; lobbied across private, public, and civil society organizations to increase action against CST legislation; and provided shelter and long-term comprehensive care to hundreds of victims in Asia.

Cheryl is a Policy and Advocacy Fellow at CARE USA, focusing on U.S Government and global advocacy on child marriage; and a former youth advocate for both the UN Global Education First Initiative and the Global Partnership for Education, lobbying policy makers to prioritize education in Sustainable Development Goals. Previously, she worked for WE Charity, training/mentoring thousands on child rights advocacy.

A sought-after speaker/trainer, Cheryl has shared the stage with former UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and Nobel Peace Prize Recipients Malala Yousafzai, and Kailash Satyarthi. She is an adjudicator for the Global Teacher Prize; World of Children Youth Award; and Plan Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Program. She is currently authoring a novel on SEC.

Cheryl is the recipient of many awards including the 2017 L’Oreal Canada Women of Worth Award; 2016 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader; 2006 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100; 2006 World of Children Founder’s Award; and 2005 Canada’s Top 20 Under 20.

Education

  • Harvard University, Executive Education, Global Leadership & Pubic Policy for the 21st Century
  • University of Oxford – Said Business School, Executive Education, Transformational Leadership: Leading at the Edge
  • University of Geneva, Masters of Advanced Studies, Children’s Rights
  • Chulalongkorn University, Professional Development Certificate, Peace & Conflict Resolution
  • University of Toronto – University of Trinity College, Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Ethics, Society, and Law; Political Science; Women’s Studies

Read More

Presentations

  • Break the Chains: Creating a World Fit for Children

    The time has come to replace apathy and ignorance with resolve and action.

    Child sex slavery is a heinous and fundamental violation of children’s rights, affecting two million children. Raped for profit, sold as sexual souvenirs, groomed on the internet, and trafficked across borders, children suffer life-long, often life-threatening physical and psychological damage.

    Cheryl will take you on an eye-opening journey through the red-light districts, brothels and dirt roads where the world’s throw-away children live and work and tell personal stories of perseverance and resilience among these children that testify to the strength of the human spirit. Listen to Cheryl’s inspiring story of bravery and sacrifice as she battles the child sex trade; learn about simple, yet concrete actions that can create a world where children are free from exploitation and free to reach their potential as contributing members of society; and hear her demonstrate how anyone—irrespective of their age—can join the struggle.

  • It Starts with YOUth!: Sparking a Generation of Pint-Sized Do-Gooders

    This is the age of the kid. And we’re not just talking about wunderkinds, but regular kids. With the education, social connectivity, and technology to change the world like no generation before, each and every young person can be a dynamic force to be reckoned with…and still go to prom. But how can we harness the power of YOUth?

    A powerful presentation for youth, educators, and parents alike…

    • Become inspired by Cheryl’s remarkable tale of heroism and her challenging road to youth leadership and philanthropy, as she walks you through her moment of obligation that began with a simple high school project; and how she founded the non-profit organization OneChild to reach out to the world’s most vulnerable youth.
    • Learn how to navigate through a labyrinth of causes, find your passion, and turn creative thinking into positive social action.
    • Discover the rewards of investing yourself in an altruistic cause and learn about tangible actions that you can take in your community and in your world
    • Get tips on cultivating an interest in social activism among the young people in your life and supporting them on their journey as changemakers.
  • Unsung heroes: Taking Advantage of Girl Power

    The girl child is the future mother nurturer, the first educator, and the woman who can impact the destiny of civilization. Such an irony then, that when proven that entire societies develop when girls and women are empowered to contribute fully as community members; ensuring the wellbeing of the girl child remains one of the greatest challenges facing humankind.

    Through global statistics and moving stories of girls emerging as heroes and change agents, Cheryl will spotlight the low status afforded to girls today and despite this, the courage, strength and leadership they have shown in the face of hardship; and the necessity of investing in girl power.

Break the Chains: Creating a World Fit for Children

The time has come to replace apathy and ignorance with resolve and action.

Child sex slavery is a heinous and fundamental violation of children’s rights, affecting two million children. Raped for profit, sold as sexual souvenirs, groomed on the internet, and trafficked across borders, children suffer life-long, often life-threatening physical and psychological damage.

Cheryl will take you on an eye-opening journey through the red-light districts, brothels and dirt roads where the world’s throw-away children live and work and tell personal stories of perseverance and resilience among these children that testify to the strength of the human spirit. Listen to Cheryl’s inspiring story of bravery and sacrifice as she battles the child sex trade; learn about simple, yet concrete actions that can create a world where children are free from exploitation and free to reach their potential as contributing members of society; and hear her demonstrate how anyone—irrespective of their age—can join the struggle.

It Starts with YOUth!: Sparking a Generation of Pint-Sized Do-Gooders

This is the age of the kid. And we’re not just talking about wunderkinds, but regular kids. With the education, social connectivity, and technology to change the world like no generation before, each and every young person can be a dynamic force to be reckoned with…and still go to prom. But how can we harness the power of YOUth?

A powerful presentation for youth, educators, and parents alike…

  • Become inspired by Cheryl’s remarkable tale of heroism and her challenging road to youth leadership and philanthropy, as she walks you through her moment of obligation that began with a simple high school project; and how she founded the non-profit organization OneChild to reach out to the world’s most vulnerable youth.
  • Learn how to navigate through a labyrinth of causes, find your passion, and turn creative thinking into positive social action.
  • Discover the rewards of investing yourself in an altruistic cause and learn about tangible actions that you can take in your community and in your world
  • Get tips on cultivating an interest in social activism among the young people in your life and supporting them on their journey as changemakers.

Unsung heroes: Taking Advantage of Girl Power

The girl child is the future mother nurturer, the first educator, and the woman who can impact the destiny of civilization. Such an irony then, that when proven that entire societies develop when girls and women are empowered to contribute fully as community members; ensuring the wellbeing of the girl child remains one of the greatest challenges facing humankind.

Through global statistics and moving stories of girls emerging as heroes and change agents, Cheryl will spotlight the low status afforded to girls today and despite this, the courage, strength and leadership they have shown in the face of hardship; and the necessity of investing in girl power.

Testimonials

  • Our Senior School, Grades 9-12, includes approximately 450 students from 30 countries. Even after a week of participating in community service projects, Ms. Perera was able to fully captivate and engage our students and faculty. As she concluded her presentation, our students rose to a rapturous standing ovation. Ms. Perera presented difficult and thought provoking subject-matter about taking action against child sex slavery that was both reflective and compelling. Our students and faculty left her presentation feeling invigorated with a sense of purpose. Along with her personable demeanour, she is a positive influence on any educational institution interested in inspiring its students to make positive impacts on their local and global communities.

    Cheryl Perera Kim Vojnov, Director of Service Learning English Trinity College School
  • Cheryl is an exceptionally vibrant and eloquent speaker who can motivate her audience – both students and adults. Her confidence addressing issues and answering questions demonstrates her knowledge and preparation when delivering presentations and workshops.

    Cheryl Perera Qaiser Ahmad, M.Ed., Head of Student Services,Toronto District School Board
  • Cheryl has the passion to move audiences. When she speaks she has stories to tell and she tells them with the passion of first person experiences.
    Cheryl is much in demand as a public speaker and when she speaks people listen.

    Cheryl Perera Dolina Smith, Past President, Canadians Addressing Sexual Exploitation
  • A staff member who has been with our school for over 20 years informed me, that during the past 20 years, this is the first time that a speaker has ever received a “STANDING OVATION”

    Cheryl Perera Kaiser Ahmad, Curriculum Leader, North Albion Collegiate Institute
  • Cheryl is a very confident and excellent presenter who received a STANDING OVATION when she served as The Annual Barton Lecturer, during the Principal’s Assembly. Very few speakers have received standing ovations at this college.

    Cheryl Perera Vice Principal, Upper Canada College, Toronto Ontario
  • A gifted speaker. Cheryl has a uniquely energetic speaking style that mesmerizes audiences with her message of youth leadership and stimulates young people to make a positive difference.

    Cheryl Perera Peter Dudding, Chief Executive Director, Child Welfare League of Canada
  • “We were so thankful for Cheryl’s attendance at our inaugural conference and were truly moved by her words during her speech.
    From the enormously positive feedback we received from our delegates, we weren’t the only ones! Her message is one so important, and yet one so seldom heard being discussed among the student body, that we feel it crucial to allow it the chance to be heeded once again.”

    Cheryl Perera Ayaz Kurji, Student, Queen's University
 

Frank O'Dea

Innovative Entrepreneur, Author

Ethan Zohn

TV's Survivor Winner, Cancer Survivor, Activist

Marc Kielburger

Co-Founder WE Charity, WE Day and Me to WE, Socially-Responsible Business Leader, Best-Selling Author

Craig Kielburger

Co-Founder of the WE Organizations, Social Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, New York Times Best-Selling Author

Jon Montgomery

Olympic Gold Medalist, Host of The Amazing Race Canada

Not who you're looking for?

Talk to us: 416.272.9932

Or

Browse more speakers