Dubai: A 16-year-old Indian girl in the UAE is among three finalists chosen for this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize for her unique role in improving the rights and position of children.
From a record number of 120 international entries, the expert committee chose Kehkashan Basu from the UAE, Divina Maloum from Cameroon and Muzoon Almellehan from Syria.
The announcement was made by International children’s rights organisation ‘KidsRights’ ahead of Universal Children’s Day to be observed on Sunday. According to the committee, all three have improved the rights and position of children in unique and tangible ways. Every year, the young prize-winner gains an international platform to share his or her message with hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
In line with the tradition, this year’s prize will be awarded by 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus in the Hall of Knights (Ridderzaal) in The Hague on December 2. Yunus, 76, admired the children, saying they are fighting for a fairer world.
“Our world desperately needs young changemakers like Divina, Kehkashan and Muzoon, who through their work have proved just how powerful and resilient children are. Adults do not have all the answers. Decision-makers should and must listen to the opinions of children, who have the power to ignite change and move the world,” he said.
Kehkashan began campaigning for environmental protection at an early age and at the age of just eight, she organised an awareness campaign for the recycling of waste in her neighbourhood in Dubai.
In 2012, she founded her own organisation ‘Green Hope’ which runs waste-collection, beach-cleaning and awareness campaigns. It is now active in ten countries with more than 1,000 young volunteers. Through a series of campaigns and lectures, she has demonstrated to thousands of school and university students the importance of proper environmental care.
Divina, 12, educates children in Cameroon about the dangers of violence and radicalisation, urging them to fight for peace.
Nominated by Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai and The Malala Fund, Muzoon campaigns for the access to quality education of girls and against forced marriage.