Sixteen-year-old Mohamad Al Jounde from Syria was awarded the International Children's Peace Prize by KidsRights Foundation on Monday. In the Hall of Knights in The Hague Mohamad received the award for his tireless efforts to ensure the rights of Syrian refugee children. He received the prize from Malala Yousafzai, who won the International Children's Peace Prize in 2013 for her work towards girls' education. She also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work for children's rights.
Al Jounde, a refugee of the Syrian civil war, was just 12 years old when he decided to set up a school in the Bekaa Valley refugee camp, enlisting support from his relatives and volunteers to construct the building and teach a range of subjects. The Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and uprooted 11 million.
"School is not only a place where you can learn how to write and read, it is also a place where you can make friends and memories, learn about new people and teach other people about yourself. School is a place where you can become who you are, where you can express yourself freely and discuss your ideas with your peers and teachers," he was quoted as saying.
"As Mohamad knows, Syria's future depends on its children. And their future depends on education. Despite all they have personally suffered, Mohamad and his family have helped many children go to school," she said.
KidsRights, the foundation committed to defending children's rights worldwide, annually awards the International Children's Peace Prize to a child whose actions have made a difference in improving children's rights, which helps children worldwide. Kehkashan Basu from UAE was the winner in 2016.
According to Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of the KidsRights Foundation, the Expert Committee of the Children’s Peace Prize sees Mohamad as a paragon of the strength that children possess to bring about positive change. “Mohamad is a true changemaker: confronted with what for many of us would seem as an unsurmountable challenge, he decided to change the destiny of himself and his peers in the refugee camp.”
Source - KidsRight Foundation
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