Personal congratulations from Archbishop Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has been the patron of The International Children’s Peace Prize and KidsRights for 13 years, congratulates the finalists of 2021 and says in a personal message: “What magnificent examples this year’s finalists are to youngsters, and indeed people of all ages around the globe. They show, through their values and determination, just what children can achieve in campaigning to improve the rights of others worldwide.”
Introducing the finalists
“This year’s nominees show the universal issues youngsters really care about right now, and they are shining examples for this generation.” said Marc Dullaert, Founder of KidsRights and chairman of the Expert Committee.
Muhammad Aasim P. (age 15, India)
Muhammad Aasim is growing up in the small Indian rural village of Velimanna in the State of Kerala. Born with no arms, Muhammad Aasim uses a wheelchair as his 90% physical disability makes walking difficult. Muhammad Aasim led a 450km march over 52 days in his wheelchair in the battle for his village school, which only previously covered the lower, primary level, to be upgraded to a high school. He filed a case before the Kerala State court, participated in dharnas (protests), and raised the profile of the issue. In 2015, the government of Kerala granted the upgrade, and as a result of Muhammad Aasim’s efforts, the number of students in the school has increased from 200 to over 700. He now hopes the Supreme Court of India will rule in his favour.
Christina Adane (age 18, Netherlands/UK)
During the pandemic in 2020, the UK government decided not to extend free school meals during holidays, affecting 1.4 million eligible pupils in England. Christina started a petition that attracted more than 430,000 signatures, and convinced the government to extend free school meals over May half-term 2020, which eventually led to the provision of free school meals throughout 2021. Christina is also an active campaigner against the marketing of junk foods, that disproportionately affects people from lower-income households.
Vihaan and Nav Agarwal (age 17 and 14, India)
Vihaan and Nav founded their youth organisation, One Step Greener in 2018 to prevent pollution caused by waste. Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020. Three years earlier, Delhi’s Ghazipur landfill collapsed, causing the death of two people, and leading to a major pollution spike, which made Vihaan realise the link between waste and air pollution, and the harmful effects of methane fires. The brothers’ first initiative was on waste segregation and organising waste pickup drives. From a start point of 15 homes, One Step Greener is now collecting waste from more than 1,000 households, schools and offices, recycling 173,630 kgs of waste up to this year. They have also started planting native trees, reaching 1,000 so far, and continue to strive to increase awareness of the issue, reaching over 45,000 young people through talks and training.
Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2014, will award the prize to this year’s winner on the 13th of November, during a ceremony in The Hague.