Our very own Cris “Kesz” Valdez of the people’s organization CLUB 8586, Inc. is one of the nominees of the International Children’s Peace Prize for 2012. This young hero had shared how volunteerism saved him from an abusive childhood and helped him reach out to underprivileged kids like himself. Known to many as Kesz, founded the Caring Children Club, a group of young volunteers who use the extra money they earn from selling candies to buy toys, food and slippers for poor children in their community,who despite his traumatic past chose a life of helping others. See the whole story of the world nomination below.
On 19 September Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu will present the prize in the Ridderzaal in The Hague, The Netherlands Amsterdam, 7 August 2012 – Today KidsRights, a Dutch children’s rights organization, announces the three nominees for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2012, the
ultimate international recognition for advocates of children’s rights. It is awarded every year by a Nobel Peace Prize Winner to a child who has made a significant contribution to advocating children’s rights. On 19 September Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu will present the prize to one of the three nominees in the Ridderzaal in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The nominees’ inspiring stories
The children nominated for 2012 are Amina (15) from Ghana, Anwara (16) from India and Kesz (13) from the Philippines*. They were selected from 97 entries from 43 different countries. Amina, Anwara and Kesz are actively committed to advocating children’s rights. They all brought about impressive changes in their communities at a very young age, each in their own way:
• Amina (15) from Ghana risked being taken out of school aged twelve to be forced into marriage. Her teachers managed to prevent this in collaboration with the local authorities. Ever since, Amina has been defending the right to education for girls. Despite her young age, Amina has already made many people in Ghana aware of girls’ right to education. She founded an organisation that defends the rights of children.
Among other things, she sends out petitions asking for constitutional changes.
• Anwara (16) is from the West Bengal region in India. After her father passed away Anwara was given to a local human trafficker. She was forced into domestic labour and was freed by a local NGO in 2008. Since then she has been fighting girl trafficking and early marriage. Anwara has managed to help many girls and their families in her community.
• Kesz from the Philippines (13) was abused and forced to beg and scavenge at the dumpsite as a two-year-old. Three years later, he even sustained burns on his arm and back, which prompted him to run away. On his seventh birthday Kesz did not want any presents for himself; he wanted to help other street kids instead. That year, Kesz set up an organisation aimed at giving children hope and showing them that they can take their future into their own hands. So far Kesz has helped over 10,000 children.
KidsRights’ International Children’s Peace Prize
KidsRights launched the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2005 in Rome, during the Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit , chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. The prize is presented annually to a child whose exceptional efforts have helped advocate children’s rights. KidsRights provides children who defend children’s rights with an international platform where they can draw attention to their plight and that of other children. The prize, which has quickly become the ultimate international recognition for advocates of children’s rights, is being awarded for the eighth time this year.
The prize will be awarded to one of the three nominees on 19 September by Desmond Tutu, patron of the International Children’s Peace Prize and KidsRights, in the Ridderzaal in The Hague in the Netherlands. “The International Children’s Peace Prize is a very important award because it gives children who have made a significant contribution to a more peaceful world easier access to an international platform. Day after day, these three brave nominees fight for the rights of children in their country, sometimes even in dangerous circumstances. Children are the future, but they are not always heard: “KidsRights gives a voice to the voiceless,” says Desmond Tutu.
- End of press release -
* To respect their privacy, the last names of the nominees shall not be announced publicly.
About the International Children’s Peace Prize
The International Children’s Peace Prize is presented annually to an exceptional child, whose courageous or
otherwise remarkable acts and thoughts have made a difference in countering problems, which affect children around the world. The prize is an initiative of the Dutch organization KidsRights and was launched by KidsRights during 2005 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. Each year the winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize is selected from nominations from all over the world. Everyone, individuals and organizations, can recommend a child for this prize. An independent Expert Committee assesses the candidates and then selects the winner. The prize money of €100,000 that is attached to the Children´s Peace Prize is spent by KidsRights on projects that are closely connected to the winners’ area of work. The winner receives financial support for his or her education. www.childrenspeaceprize.org