The International Children’s Peace Prize 2012 was presented to Kesz (13), from the Philippines, at the Ridderzaal in The Hague on the 19th of September. Of the three nominated children, who have all made extraordinary efforts in the area of children’s rights, the Expert Committee selected Kesz as the winner. He was awarded the prize by Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu.
Kesz received this award for his efforts to improve the rights of street children in the Philippines, where more than 246,000 street children are subjected to abuse, violence and child labour. Many of them also struggle to cope with major health issues. Kesz was in the same situation. He was severely abused and forced to scavenge at the dumpsite at the age of two. Three years later, he sustained burns on his arm and back, which forced him to run away and look for help. He has transformed his own experiences into a drive to help other street children and inspire them to change their own lives.
Kesz: “My message to all children around the globe is; our health is our wealth! Being healthy will enable you to play, to think clearly, to get up and go to school and love the people around you in so many ways. To everyone in the world, please remember that every day, 6,000 children die from diseases associated with poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and we can do something about it! Please join me in helping street children achieve better health and better lives.”
Gifts of Hope
For his seventh birthday, Kesz didn’t want any presents for himself. Instead, he wanted to give something to other street children: Gifts of Hope. That same year, Kesz started his own organization, Championing Community Children, aimed at giving street children hope and showing them that they can take their future into their own hands. Every week, he and his friends go to underprivileged communities to teach children about hygiene, food and children’s rights. He even takes things a step further, by teaching children how to teach each other. He has so far helped more than 10,000 children in his local area.
Do you want to see why Kesz won the Children’s Peace Prize 2012? Click here