Pakistani girl moves the world: “I want to live in a world where education is taken for granted”
The Hague, September 6th 2013 – The International Children’s Peace Prize 2013 was presented today to 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai. The champion of the right to education for girls came to the Netherlands especially for this occasion, at the invitation of the Dutch children’s rights organisation KidsRights. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (2011) Tawakkol Karman had the honor of presenting the prestigious prize on behalf of KidsRights to the young winner, in the presence of over 400 guests and the world press.
This is the ninth time that the Children’s Peace Prize, an initiative of KidsRights, has been awarded to a child who has shown special dedication to children’s rights. An independent Expert Committee were unanimous in their choice of Malala as the winner of the Children’s Peace Prize 2013. Marc Dullaert, chairman of KidsRights and founder of the International Children’s Peace Prize, said: “Malala is an inspiration for both children and adults. Her battle for access to education for girls all over the world has not escaped anyone’s notice. She shows that children can let their voice be heard at a young age and can set the world in motion. Even after an attempt on her life, Malala showed the courage to decide to continue unabated in her efforts.” Malala was already nominated for the Children’s Peace Prize in 2011: “When I was nominated in 2011 with four other nominees, I got international recognition. And to be honest, that nomination triggered my national and global campaign for education.”
Malala: “The heart of the solution is one simple thing – the right of every girl to an education”
For Malala, winning the Children’s Peace Prize is a recognition of her efforts to give girls all over the world access to education. The prize gives her a global platform for spreading her message. Malala expressed her wish in her acceptance speech: “For children in The Netherlands, or in the UK where I go to school now, or anywhere in Europe or America, education is something which is taken for granted – which is an entirely normal and expected part of growing up. That is exactly as it should be. I want to live in a world where education is taken for granted in every corner of the globe, because no-one is excluded from it.”
The Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman presented the ‘Nkosi’ statuette to the young winner. The International Children’s Peace Prize is accompanied by an award of € 100,000, which is this year invested by KidsRights in projects that promote education for girls in Pakistan. The project fund is made available through the AkzoNobel Children’s Peace Fund. At the ceremony, speeches were given by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and by various representatives of the government, the business community and NGOs, including the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Irina Bokova (Director-General of UNESCO), Dutch State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport Martin van Rijn, Children’s Peace Prize winner 2011 Chaeli Mycroft and Wietze Reehoorn from ABN AMRO (main sponsor of the International Children’s Peace Prize since 2006).
Research by KidsRights and Leiden University: 32 million girls without education
In collaboration with the Law Faculty of Leiden University, KidsRights published the KidsRights Report ‘ACCESS DENIED! – Girls’ Equal Right to Education in a global context, with a focus on Pakistan’. There are still 32 million girls worldwide who do not have access to education. There are three main challenges in giving girls equal educational rights to boys. They are the cultural perception about the role of girls in the family, the costs of education, and finally the unsafe situations on the route to school and danger at the schools themselves. Access to education for girls has a positive effect on general health, contributes to higher incomes and better job opportunities, lowers the mortality rate of mothers and children, strengthens family ties and discourages marriage at a very young age.
Pakistan is one of the worst countries in the world with regard to the number of children who cannot attend school. Despite the fact that the Pakistani government has developed various initiatives to increase girls’ participation in education, there are still 3.2 million girls who do not go to school. The main challenge is making education available in conflict zones. KidsRights and the researchers from Leiden University advise the Pakistani government to open up further to the help of NGOs and the international community.
Marc Dullaert calls on world leaders to come into action, saying “As set out in the Millennium Goals signed by 189 countries, all children must have access to education by 2015, and boys and girls must have equal rights. If the international community does not act quickly, it looks as though we will not reach these goals, as there are still around 57 million children who do not have access to school. We therefore call on the world leaders to re-dedicate themselves without hesitation to the commitments that they have made to achieve the Millenium Goals.” In the third week of September, the members of the United Nations will discuss the status of the Millenium Goals.
You can read the full report on: www.kidsrights.org
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About the International Children’s Peace Prize
The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of Marc Dullaert, Chairman and Founder of the Dutch KidsRights Foundation and is awarded annually to a child, anywhere in the world, for his or her dedication to children’s rights. The prize was launched by KidsRights during the 2005 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. Since then, the prize has been presented every year by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Each year the winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize is selected from nominations from all over the world. An independent Expert Committee assesses the candidates and selects the winner. The International Children’s Peace Prize is accompanied by an award of €100.000 which is invested by KidsRights in projects that are closely connected to the winners’ area of work. The project fund is made available through the AkzoNobel Children’s Peace Fund. The winner receives the statuette ‘Nkosi’, financial support for his or her education and a world-wide platform to promote his or her ideals and causes to the benefit of children’s rights. www.childrenspeaceprize.org
About the KidsRights Foundation
Every child has talents. Every child has dreams. KidsRights, based in the Netherlands, believes in a world where all children have access to their rights and are enabled to realise the great potential they have within them. KidsRights promotes the wellbeing of very vulnerable children across the world and advocates the realisation of their rights. KidsRights sees children as changemakers in this process. As Nobel Peace Prize winner and patron of KidsRights, Desmond Tutu says: “KidsRights seeks to give a voice to the voiceless”.
KidsRights supports various projects in developing countries that focus on education. And the children’s rights organisation is active in the Netherlands as well. For instance, the youth campaign Move the World with KidsRights
was launched recently. Malala is the source of inspiration for this campaign, as she is an example of the fact that children can take action themselves and set the world in motion. On behalf of KidsRights, Dutch TopNotch-rappers like Lil’ Kleine, Ronnie Flex, Bokoesam and Lange Frans are calling on children and youngsters to donate their profile photo, which will count as a vote for education for all children worldwide. The photos will be presented at a meeting of the United Nations in September.
About ABN AMRO
ABN AMRO believes it is important that every child receives the opportunity to develop his or her talents. As the main sponsor of the International Children’s Peace Prize, ABN AMRO thus supports the importance of children’s rights. Besides giving a financial contribution, ABN AMRO also expresses its support by actively involving its employees in the prize. In recent years, hundreds of employees have volunteered their help with projects organized and supported by KidsRights. www.abnamro.com
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