Today it was revealed that Manuel Rodrigues, a blind child rights activist from Guinea-Bissau, has been selected to receive the child rights award, The World’s Children’s Prize (WCP), often called the ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’ by the global media. This is the result of the Global Vote, by millions of children around the world. Manuel was honoured in recognition of his work for children with disabilities, who face being kept hidden or abandoned to die.
Since the launch in 2000, a total of 40,6 million children have participated in the World’s Children’s Prize programme, the world’s largest annual educational initiative for children on rights and democracy.
Two other child rights activists, 90-year-old Rosi Gollmann, from Germany, and Molly Melching, from the USA and Senegal, are also being honoured today. Rosi Gollman’s work includes rescuing tens of thousands of girls in India from being killed at birth, and Molly Melching has led pioneering initiatives to tackle female genital cutting and child marriage in West Africa. Both receive the World’s Children’s Honorary Award.
Previous prize laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Ann Skelton, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (the latter two, posthumously).
Today, Åsa Regnér, Sweden’s Minister for Children, became a new patron. Others who have shown their support for the WCP by becoming patrons include the late Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven.
In Guinea-Bissau, it is hard for children with disabilities to go to school. Many have been kept hidden away, or abandoned to die. Through Manuel’s work, however, both attitudes and legislation are changing rapidly, so that children with different abilities can grow up in safety, attend school, and have a good life.
Manuel was one of the three nominees for the award, nominated by a child jury whose members are experts on the rights of the child, through their own life experiences as refugees, slaves and soldiers, amongst others.
Prize laureates honoured in Sweden
All three nominees for the award were honoured at a ceremony today at Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred, Sweden, where children from 15 countries were assisted by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden in presenting the prizes. The prize money, totalling SEK 700,000, is split between this year’s child rights hero (SEK 350,000) and the two honorary award laureates (SEK 175,000 each) and is to go towards the prize laureates’ work with children.
Abatsha, a young band from Cape Town, South Africa, played at the WCP Ceremony. Five of the band members are pupils at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, where the World’s Children’s Prize programme is implemented annually, and where the band members and other pupils are trained as WCP Child Rights Ambassadors. Band members are: Simbongile Sam, Zintle Kati, Aerin Van den Bergh, Deaviah Moodley, Vuyisani Mkwambi, Athenkosi Halu, Bonga Hatana and Clayton Seas.
More info and press photos at worldschildrensprize.org/media
Empowering vulnerable children
The majority of the millions of children who participate in the programme live in countries affected by poverty and conflict, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Through the WCP programme, they have learned that they have rights and have been able to make their voices heard, many for the first time.
The WCP is supported by almost 70,000 schools in 115 countries, and by over 750 organisations, institutions and departments of education. Since the launch of the programme, half a million teachers have been trained to teach their pupils about children’s rights and democracy in their schools.
Global legends as patrons
Many public figures have shown their support for the WCP by becoming patrons, including the late Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Today, the Swedish Minister for Children, Åsa Regnér, became a new patron. South African patrons also include the late Ahmed Kathrada, Dr Iqbal Survé and the singer, Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela.
We are behind the World’s Children’s Prize
The World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF) is supported by donors including the Swedish Postcode Lottery, Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), Forum Syd, Julia & Hans Rausing Trust, Care about the Children (H.M. Queen Silvia’s foundation) and the Survé Family Foundation (part of Survé Philanthropies).
Contact in South Africa
Marlene Winberg: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 083 392 5153
Contact in Sweden
Carmilla Floyd: email@example.com Tel. +46-709-507407
Magnus Bergmar: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. +46-705-155839
More information and press images at worldschildrensprize.org/media-room