Personal congratulations from Archbishop Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has been the patron of The International Children’s Peace Prize and KidsRights for 12 years, congratulates the finalists of 2020 and says in a personal message: “I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can, no must, improve their own futures. They are true changemakers who have demonstrated most powerfully that children can move the world.”
Introducing the finalists
“The impact of Ivanna, Siena and Sadat for the future of many children is unmistakable, they are the rightful finalists of the International Children’s Peace Prize 2020” said Marc Dullaert, Founder of KidsRights and chairman of the Expert Committee.
Ivanna Ortega Serret (age 12, Mexico)
Ivanna Ortega is a 12-year-old girl who lives in a town called Zona Esmeralda in Atizapan de Zaragoza, Estado de México. Ivanna initiated a petition on Change.org to ask the authorities to clean the dam in her city, which has been affected by water pollution, regulate the sewage system and save human and wild life from the polluted water. She managed to raise 69,000 signatures for her petition. Due to the awareness Ivanna raised by collecting the signatures, the government decided to allocate 21 million pesos in to cleaning the Dam. Many international media have called Ivanna “The Greta Thunberg of Madim”. Ivanna has raised funds for an NGO named Nacel Arcoiris, Rainbow Society, to buy ropes, create sections in the Dam, and facilitate cleaning work by using technology. In the future, she wants a clean Madin Dam and introduce environmental classes at schools.
Siena Castellon (age 18, Ireland)
Siena is a child with several learning difficulties. She has had a very challenging educational experience, including having had to move school due to disability and autism-related bullying. At the age of 13, Siena created a website, www.qlmentoring.com, to mentor bright students with learning disabilities and autism. In November 2018, she launched her Neurodiversity Celebration Week campaign which encourages schools to recognize the strengths and talents of children with special needs, instead of focusing on their weaknesses and difficulties. In May 2019, over 340 schools and over 314.000 students across the UK, US and Australia took part in the first-ever Neurodiversity Celebration Week. Siena is organizing a Neurodiversity Youth Summit at London’s City Hall for 300 youth and is working with organizations such as Stanford University’s Neurodiversity Project. In 2019, she helped organize protests across the UK to demand the government to adequately fund special educational needs education. She has also written a survival guide for autistic teen girls. This is the first book written by a teen autistic girl for teen autistic girls.
Sadat Rahman (age 17, Bangladesh)
Sadat is a young changemaker and social innovator from Bangladesh. The death of a 15-year-old girl by suicide because of cyberbullying in his country led to Sadat taking direct action. Together with his friends, he set up a social organization called Narail Volunteers. They created the ‘Cyber Teens’ mobile app where teenagers can learn how to stay safe in the internet world. About 1,800 teenagers have been using the app, more than 300 complaints have been resolved and 8 cyber criminals have been brought to justice through the app. Sadat has also reached over 45.000 teenagers with internet safety seminars in schools and colleges. Sadat received the national award ‘Joy Bangla Youth Award 2018’ on behalf of his organization for his outstanding contribution to social work. Currently, Sadat has designed a campaign called ‘Safe Internet, Safe Teenager’. The Narail volunteers are organizing e-safety seminars and workshops for teenagers and working to create a digital literacy club in every school. In the future, he wants to develop the app further with the support of the Government of Bangladesh and add a platform where psychologists provide psycho-social support to those in need.
Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2014 and Winner of The International Children’s Peace Prize 2013, will award the prize to this year’s winner on the 13th of November, during a ceremony in The Hague.