The inspiring stories of the nominees
The three nominees have all made an impressive difference in their environment, at a very young age, each in their own way:
- Amina from Ghana thinks education is necessary to live a peaceful life. At a young age, she risked being taken out of school to be forced into marriage. Her teachers managed to prevent this in collaboration with the local authorities. Since then, Amina has become the co-founder and representative of the “Achievers Book Club”, an organisation that defends the rights of children in general and strives for education for girls in particular. She petitions the relevant authorities asking for constitutional changes, joins forces with other NGOs and organises forums about education for girls aimed at opinion leaders from various communities. Despite her young age, Amina has already made many people in Ghana aware of girls’ right to education.
Anwara is from the West Bengal region in India, an area notorious for the trafficking of girls. After her father passed away Anwara was given to a local human trafficker by her family in exchange for some money and a share of her monthly salary. She was only nine years old. She was forced into domestic labour, but her family never received any of the promised money. In 2008 Anwara was freed by a local NGO. From then on she has been fighting the trafficking of girls and early marriage. Thanks to her 200 children who had left school picked up their education where they had left off. Anwara has managed to help prevent several cases of girl trafficking in her surroundings and she has reunited many girls with their families. Moreover, she has helped prevent a number of early marriages by pressuring the local authorities.
Kesz is a boy from the Philippines who was abused by his family and forced to beg and scavenge at the dumpsite as a two-year-old. Three years later, he even sustained burns on his arm and back, which prompted him to run away. Kesz was cared for by a social worker. On his seventh birthday Kesz didn’t wish any presents for himself; he wanted to help other street kids instead. That year, Kesz set up the organisation “Championing Community Children”. His aim is to give children hope and show them that they can take their future into their own hands. Kesz gives them “HOPE GIFTS”: packages with slippers, clothing, soap, toothbrushes and toys. He also regularly holds speeches at events, thus inspiring other street children and acting as their representative. Since the launch of the organisation “Championing Community Children” in 2005 Kesz and his team have already distributed 5,000 “HOPE GIFTS” and helped over 10,000 children through the programmes set up by Kesz.