The International Children's Peace Prize is awarded every year to a child who fights courageously for children's rights and contributes significantly to child welfare. Malala Yousafzai won the award in 2013 and this year 10 Indian children have been nominated for their inspiring work.
These young Indians come from all parts of the country and have worked towards several children-related issues like education, child labour, healthcare and more. The youngest crusader among them is as young as 12, but today he stands among 169 international nominees who have all worked for similar causes.
This Children’s Day, let’s applaud the efforts of these 10 brave hearts that have been nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize 2017.
This young boy has actively fought against child marriage and has personally intervened and stopped five such marriages from taking place in his village. He constantly talks to parents and children about the negative consequences of child marriage and has worked towards ending child labour and encouraging children to attend school. He has successfully managed to get 33 children back to school.
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Nikhiya, the daughter of two doctors, was never really exposed to poverty and hardship. This was until she gave her schoolbag to her housekeeper’s daughter and got a thank you note back, which made her realise that many children in our country don’t even have basic school supplies. She then started the project "Bags, Books and Blessings" that urged people to donate school supplies to those who cannot afford it. She has also started a second project called “Yearn to Learn” that has managed to set up 35 laboratories of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Math in nine schools.
The youngest in the list is 12-year-old Sakthi who was born amidst poverty. He dropped out of school at a young age as he was treated harshly like all the other children in such schools. However, he heard about Hand in Hand, a residential special training centre and attended school there and continuous to do so. He then went on to persuade other children and parents about the importance of education and tells them his story. He has personally gotten 25 children to attend school.
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Sumitra was 4 years old when her mother left her alcoholic father, taking her four children. In those days, they were often left alone and hungry when their mother looked for work. In 2008, Sumitra was offered free housing and education at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences where she pursued her studies, and it has been her determination to become an international rugby player. She has been successful in her ambition and has since been training juniors. She is also keen on starting a residential school in her village to benefit others like her.
Anand once met a boy in a temple who inspired him to help underprivileged children who wanted to study but could not afford it. Along with his family, he established BalChoupal in 2012 to help such children. Today BalChoupal has reached over 50,000 children, out of which 750 are now attending school. It also provides books to these children without any government aid.
The burden of poverty and an abusive father at home affected Aitisha’s performance at school. She fought that and now lives in a children’s home where she continues her studies. Learning from her own experience, she empowers and educates other children to do so too. She believes that “education is a powerful tool for the protection of children and the safeguarding of their rights.”
Born in acute poverty, Nidhi was sent by her parents to live with her grandparents in Bihar. Her grandfather sent her to school, despite a lot of local opposition and today Nidhi has become a leading member of a children’s group dealing with children’s rights issues at her school. She even conducts rights-based training sessions in colleges and other villages and over 600 people in her village have already signed an oath to uphold these rights.
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Saleha works toward promoting a child’s right to education and good health. She has motivated over 200 girls in her local community to pursue education, of which 10 of them have gone back to school. In the last two years, she has conducted 250 sessions on healthy menstrual hygiene practices and other issues and has reached out to 1,500 teenagers. She works in the slums of Mumbai where she promotes community-based interventions that deal with Sever Acute Malnourished (SAM) cases.
Kiran had to leave school and live with her grandmother when her father died. However, Kiran wanted to go to school and tried finding ways to do so. This was when she got noticed by a team from SOS children’s village. She now lives and goes to school there and also campaigns to get parents to send their children to school.
Poonam lived in a slum in Agra where she was forced into child labour like all the other kids there. While she started working at 5, she managed to break free and today, Poonam advocates for children’s rights and fights to eliminate child labour. She is now the district secretary of a federation of street and working children in North India. She reports and intervenes in many cases which also include child abuse, child marriage, child trafficking etc. She has reached out to over 2,000 children, educating them about their rights and helping them out.
The winner will be announced by KidsRights on December 4, 2017 during a ceremony in the renowned Hall of Knights in international city of peace and justice, The Hague, the Netherlands. We congratulate all these children for their hard work and service and wish them good luck for their nomination.
You can now bring a smile to the faces of underprivileged children suffering from cancer. Just shop on Tata CLiQ and we will donate a part of the amount to provide life-saving nutrition to these little ones. You can also share the love by writing something special for these kids with #CLiQToCare. @CuddlesFoundation
Images via kidsrights.org