BARUANI NDUME (16) WINS INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S PEACE PRIZE 2009
The Hague, 3 December 2009 – This afternoon, in the Ridderzaal in The Hague, Baruani Ndume received the fifth International Children’s Peace Prize from Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. At the end of this an niversary year ceremony, officially opened by Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, he received this prestigious prize for his efforts on behalf of children in the refugee camp in Tanzania. His radio programme provides a platform for discussion about the problems encountered by children in the refugee camp. Furthermore, thanks to the programme’s wide appeal, he has helped to reunite many children with their parents and families after they were separated by the war.
‘All the prize winners and nominees are heroes’, said the Prime Minister. ‘Heroes who make a difference. Heroes who make their own dreams and the dreams of others come true. (…) As adults, we should learn from their example and put our own ideals into practice, as these children have done. Without endless talk and without fear of failure.’
At the age of 7, Baruani fled from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While fleeing the country, he lost his parents and ended up in the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania, where he has lived ever since. Over 60,000 other refugees, more than half of whom are children, inhabit the camp. Baruani works to help these children in a very special way. With only limited resources, he has succeeded in setting up a radio programme in which he talks about problems and challenges with his peer refugee children. By means of appeals on his show, he tries to reunite children and parents who have become separated while escaping from DR Congo. The programme has been highly successful and is now broadcast in DR Congo, Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda. Thanks to this, many children have now been reunited with their families.
5 Years of the International Children’s Peace Prize and its Impact
In the past five years, the Children’s Peace Prize has had an enormous impact on the promotion of children’s rights. For example, after winning the prize, the 2006 winner Om Prakasch put child slavery high on the agenda in India, his homeland. He was received by the Indian premier, while Gordon Brown (then the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK) made £200 million available “to eradicate child slavery and illiteracy” in India. Thandiwe Chama from Zambia was also able to broadcast her message to the world when she won the prize in 2007. Via the BBC World Service, the story of her struggle for the right to education was brought to millions of households. It was partly as a result of this that a new Education Act was passed in her country. Mayra Avellar Neves, last year’s winner, is still fighting for the safety of children in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the recent UN summit in New York, she was able to speak with foreign ministers Hillary Clinton (USA), Celso Amorim (Brazil) and Maxime Verhagen (Netherlands) on the subject of ‘Violence Against the Girl Child’. In the words of Marc Dullaert, founder of KidsRights and initiator of the International Children’s Peace Prize: “The podium offered by the International Children’s Peace Prize to these courageous children makes it possible to help many children, otherwise unheard, throughout the world by protecting and guaranteeing their rights.”
Speeches 3 December 2009: