Michaela Mycroft winner of International Children’s Peace Prize 2011
Winner is committed to the rights of disabled children in South Africa
November 21 the International Children’s Peace Prize 2011 was awarded to Michaela Mycroft (17) from South Africa. From the five nominated children, who were announced by Desmond Tutu at the end of October, the Expert Committee chose her as the winner. The prize was presented to her by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. Michaela, also called Chaeli, received this award for her commitment to the rights of children with disabilities in South Africa through her project: the Chaeli Campaign.
Chaeli was born with Cerebral Palsy, through which the function of her arms and legs is limited. But where others see limitations, she sees possibilities; with her positive attitude, she is an inspiration to many.
“Hope is what keeps us going,” Chaelisaid in her speech. “It’s what keeps us striving for the lives we deserve. I have hope for myself, but I also have hope for all other children with disabilities. I hope that my actions as an ability activist will leave the world more accepting and more accommodating for all people and not just people with disabilities, because we are all different and we all have the need to be accepted regardless of having a disability or not.”
At the age of 9, Chaeli and her friends and sister started a project to raise money for an motorized wheelchair for Chaeli. In just seven weeks they raised more than enough money, soChaeli decided to help more disabled children. This project has become the Chaeli Campaign, a professional organization that annually helps more than 3000 children with disabilities in South Africa with equipment, physical therapy and which defends the rights and acceptance of disabled children. Chaeli inspires other children to start projects and for that she has developed an ambassadors program.
““I think we need to make a conscious decision to see the light in every person we meet. I think we need to be more positive about each other. If we see the light in each other, I believe we would live in a much brighter world. “