Francia Simon from the Dominican Republic won, at the age of 16, the International Children’s Peace Prize. The prize was presented to her by Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum from Guatemala. Francia campaigns for the right of children to name and nationality – both for children born in the Dominican Republic as for refugee children from Haiti. It is only after official registration that children can gain access to essential rights such as health care and education.
Francia found herself faced with possible exclusion from school because she did not have a birth certificate. In response, she carried out extensive research and showed great perseverance in pursuing her own registration. She succeeded and gained lasting access to secondary education. Since then, Francia has been using the knowledge and strength she acquired during the complicated registration process to help other children without birth certificates to obtain state recognition. She has already helped over 130 children to receive an official name and nationality. By doing this, Francia increases the children’s own self-esteem and gives them the chance to lead a more secure and fulfilling life.
Besides the activities to help others, Francia gave birth to her daughter Esperanza in November 2011. Francia en Esperanza now live with Francia’s mother and brother. Her mother cares for the baby when Francia goes to school. It is really important to Francia to finish school and go to university, in order to create a good future for her and her daughter. Francia wants to study tourism and does everything to achieve that goal.
Year of birth 1994
Residence Batey Cuchilla
Winner in 2010
Subject The right to name and nationality