Winners of the International Children's Peace Prize
Extraordinary achievements for Children's Rights
The winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize are children who perform extraordinary actions to improve the status of children’s rights. Receiving the prize is not only a sign of recognition for what they have achieved to improve the position of children in their communities. It also gives them the opportunity to present their message to more people worldwide and to help more children in the process. The International Children’s Peace Prize functions as a platform to provide these winners with the opportunity to spread their message worldwide.
The International Children’s Peace Prize 2012 was won by Kesz from the Philippines. Kesz won the prize for his achievements in helping street children in his country. As a little boy, Kesz lived on the streets and the dumpsite of Cavite City. By living there, Kesz was constantly in danger of attracting diseases or injury. At the age of five, a social worker took Kesz into his home after he was severely burned, and began to give him a loving and safe life. However, Kesz did not forget about the street children he left behind. For his seventh birthday, he wanted no presents for himself, but instead he shared gave slippers to his former companions, so that they would no longer cut their feet open on the streets. Kesz’ organisation, Championing Community Children, became a fact. In the mean time, many people have joined Kesz and Championing Community Children has become a great success. The organisation has helped over 10,500 children in 48 different communities. The team has taken care of more than 3,000 wounds and more than 4,000 toothbrushes have been distributed. Do you want to see for yourself why Kesz won the International Children’s Peace Prize? Click here
2011 Chaeli Mycroft
The International Children's Peace Prize 2011 was presented to Michaela Mycroft (17), also called Chaeli, by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. Chaeli received the prize for her commitment to the rights of children with disabilities in South Africa through her project: the Chaeli Campaign. Chaeli was born with Cerebral Palsy, through which the function of her arms and legs is limited. But where others see limitations, she sees possibilities; with her positive attitude, she is an inspiration to many. At the age of 9, Chaeli and her friends and sister started a project to raise money for an motorized wheelchair for Chaeli. In just seven weeks they raised more than enough money, so Chaeli decided to help more disabled children. This project has become the Chaeli Campaign, a professional organization that annually helps more than 3000 children with disabilities in South Africa with equipment, physical therapy and which defends the rights and acceptance of disabled children. Chaeli inspires other children to start projects and for that she has developed an ambassadors program.
Would you like to hear from Chaeli what she does for disabled children and why? click here
2010 – Francia Simon
16-year-old Francia Simon from the Dominican Republic won the International Children’s Peace Prize. The prize was presented by Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum. Francia, who lives in the Dominican Republic, campaigns for the right of children to registration, name and nationality – both for children born in the Dominican Republic as for refugee children from Haiti. It is only after official registration that children can gain access to essential rights such as health care and education. Francia found herself faced with possible exclusion from education. In response, she carried out extensive research and showed great perseverance in pursuing her own registration. She succeeded and gained lasting access to secondary education. Since then, Francia has been using the knowledge and strength she acquired during the complicated registration process to help other children without birth certificates to obtain state recognition. She has already helped over 130 children to receive an official name and nationality. By doing this, Francia increases the children’s own self-esteem and gives them the chance to lead a more secure and fulfilling life.
Would you like to hear from Francia why she is fighting for the right to a name and registration? click here
2009 – Baruani Ndume
In 2009 Baruani received the International Children’s Peace Prize from Nobel Peace Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai. Baruani has lived in the refugee camp in Tanzania for over nine years. He tries to convert this life experience into positive action, by actively helping fellow refugee children. His radio show is one of the key ways in which he tries to help his peers. The radio show, called ‘Sisi kwa Sisi’ (Children for Children), airs on Radio Kwizera in Tanzania, Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. In his radio show, Baruani discusses the problems and challenges refugee children face in the camp. For many children it is already a big help to talk to someone and to be able to share the problems they experience. Baruani also leads a children’s parliament in the camp which is an alternative child voicing out tool. Furthermore, through his radio show Baruani contributes to reuniting children with their parents. The children use the radio show to call upon people familiar with them or their family.
Would you like to hear from Baruani what he does and why? click here
2008 – Mayra Avellar Neves
In 2008 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu presented Mayra Avellar Neves the Children’s Peace Prize for her ongoing fight against the violence in the favela’s, slums, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and her own favela, Vila Cruzeiro, in particular. When Mayra was only 11 years old her favela was closed off by so many checkpoints that schools and clinics had to be closed because doctors and teachers could not reach them. She however refused to accept this and found another school outside the favela and demanded her right to education. When Mayra was 15 years old, she mobilized hundreds of youths to participate in a community march against violence. Their direct demand was that the police should stop patrolling around schools during the times that children walk to and from school. This took great courage, as the march passed by many of these armed police patrols. As a result of this action, the police agreed to the demands, and children started coming back to school again – a great achievement with far-reaching implications for life in the favela.
Meanwhile, Mayra still participates in the theatre group Favela Força (“favela power”), which shows the powerful and positive culture of the favela population.
Would you like to see why Mayra won the International Children's Peace Prize? click here
2007 – Thandiwe Chama
In 2007, KidsRights had the honor of giving the International Children’s Peace Prize to Thandiwe Chama from Zambia. She received the Children’s Peace Prize from Nobel Prize Laureate Betty Williams and Sir Bob Geldof, for her devotion to the rights of children in her country, especially their right to education.
Thandiwe’s school was closed when she was only 8 years old because of a lack of teachers. But Thandiwe did not accept this and demanded education for her and her 60 schoolmates. The CECUP school took them in. After having seen the extent to which she could influence her environment Thandiwe went to a government official to plead for a new building, so that the children did not have to study outside in the hot sun anymore. Ever since, Thandiwe has been fighting for the right to education for all children, including the poor and the ill. Thandiwe has seen the devastating effects of hiv/aids in her direct environment. Children dying of the disease, children not going to school. and lacking the right nutrition. Taking action on behalf of children with hiv/aids and calling upon others to do their share is one of her great drives in daily life. She gets the community involved to provide fruits to sick children in the nearby hospital. She advises children and parents on testing for hiv, and has even taken children herself to do the test.
Would you like to see what Thandiwe has been doing since she won the prize? click here
2006 – Om Prakash Gurjar
In 2006 the honor went to Om Prakash Gurjar from India. He received the prize from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa. He was awarded the Prize for his unceasing work to combat child labor and liberate child slaves in India. Om was liberated from slavery after having worked from his 5th until his 8th year under grueling circumstances. After his liberation Om started advocating and fighting for children’s rights to freedom and education.
2005 – Nkosi Johnson
The first Children’s Peace Prize in 2005 was dedicated posthumously to Nkosi Johnson for his work and dedication to offer a more dignified existence to South African children and their mothers with hiv and aids. The prize was presented by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev to Nkosi’s foster mother Gail Johnson and his little foster brother Thabo.
During his lifetime Nkosi rose awareness for children with hiv and aids. In his famous speech during the 13th International Aids conference in Durban in 2001 he asked the world to accept and love children and adults with hiv/aids just like any other human being, because as he said: “We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else - don't be afraid of us - we are all the same!”. Nkosi wanted to open several Nkosi’s Havens together with his foster “mommy” Gail Johnson within the year. The thought behind Nkosi’s haven is that mothers with hiv/aids and their children should not be separated from each other.