In 2015, Keita won the International Children’s Peace Prize. The two other nominees have all made an impressive difference in their environment, at a very young age, each in their own way:
Aziza Rahim Zada (14) - Afghanistan
Nominated for standing up for children living in appalling conditions in refugee camps
Aziza lives with her family in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. Aziza stands up for children living in appalling conditions in Afghan refugee camps. She has encouraged hundreds of other children (especially girls) to talk about their problems and claim their rights. In her own calm and convincing way she has managed to build a bridge between a conservative society and a society which allows more progressive and effective approaches to girls’ and children's rights.
In Afghanistan it is very hard to get girls involved in activities taking place outside their homes. Aziza, however, is a leading member of two children’s clubs of the Mini Mobile Circus for Children. When girls are not allowed by their families to participate in activities, Aziza talks with the families to change their minds. The circus organizes several activities for children to discuss their problems, document children's problems, raise awareness and engage with parliament members and other opinion makers. Aziza’s enthusiasm continues to inspire Afghan children to let them raise their voices and claim their rights, both in and outside the refugee camp.
Aziza: “My message to the world is that people should not make their children victims of political things and money. My candidacy in the Children’s Peace Prize makes me and the children in my country proud.”
Jeanesha Bou (17) - Puerto Rico
Nominated for her fight against human trafficking
Jeanesha (17 years) from Puerto Rico has become a fervent activist against human trafficking. Her ultimate goal is to eradicate modern-day slavery, a crime against humanity to which many people who are trafficked fall victim. When she was only 14 years old, she started an initiative against human trafficking consisting of workshops and awareness-raising activities for youths and children to prevent them from being trafficked. Jeanesha plays an instrumental role in the It's About Trafficking project of the Ricky Martin Foundation. In this project Jeanesha works with immigrants from the Dominican Republic in San Juan. The project combines literacy programmes with information about human trafficking in order to educate the participants and prevent trafficking.
Her message and advocacy have turned Jeanesha into an example for those dedicated to combating the human trafficking of children and youths. Jeanesha continues to speak out and expand her activities to reach more children. Her next project is to produce an educational documentary. The goal is to create awareness among one of the most vulnerable populations in Puerto Rico – children and youths searching for the ‘American Dream’ – in order to prevent them from falling victim to human trafficking.
Jeanesha: “I was once told that to change the world it only takes one person to start making a difference. So, I wish to be that difference and I wish you can be that difference too. I am extremely grateful and honoured to be a nominee of this prestigious Children’s Peace Prize.”