The International Children’s Peace Prize 2006
Om Prakash Gurjar from India won the 2006 Children’s Peace Prize for his efforts against child labour in his country. He was a victim of child slavery himself when he was five years old. Om Prakash is a very convincing boy. He truly feels that education is a basic right for every child and the key to a better life. He began to tell children in his home village about his own experience as a child labourer. He made sure hundreds of children received birth certificates so as to be better protected against child slavery. He also fought successfully for free education for all children in his home state Rajasthan. These and many more efforts and results made him the 2006 Children’s Peace Laureate and an example to us all.
Upon his return to India, Om Prakash was received by the President of India, and several cabinet ministers, in order to discuss more effective measures against child labour in their country. Shortly after that, the current British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited India and requested a meeting with Om Prakash, during which he announced that his government would invest 300 million euros in education for the poorest children in the country. These and other remarkable events have helped Om Prakash in his efforts, which continue today. The 2006 Children’s Peace Prize has shown to the world that this former child slave is making a difference, and has given him new opportunities to continue to do so even far beyond his direct environment.
$100.000 For Education and Against Child Labour
The Prize Money which came with the 2006 Children’s Peace Prize was symbolically given by Om Prakash to two projects which deal also with the issue of child labour. These projects, Stop Trafficking, Oppression and Prostitution of Children and Women in India and People’s Welfare Service Committee
in Nepal respectively, continue to rescue children from prostitution and prevent child labour through education. Both organisations work from the premise that education is the key to a real future as well as the best prevention of child labour.