The International Children’s Peace Prize 2012 was presented to 13 year old Kesz from the Philippines at the Ridderzaal in The Hague. He was awarded the prize by Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and the youngest International Children’s Peace Prize winner so far.Kesz received this award for his efforts to improve the rights of street children in the Philippines, where more than 246,000 street children are subjected to abuse, violence and child labor. Many of them also struggle to cope with major health issues. Kesz was in the same situation. He was severely abused and forced to scavenge at the dumpsite of Cavite City at the age of two. At the age of 4, he fled from home to start begging on the streets while living on graveyards and sleeping in open tombs. Like all other street children, Kesz used to sleep anywhere and everywhere.
One day, he was found by a street educator sleeping outside a convenience store in the market, where some people would only be annoyed by his presence and kick him in their passing. The street educator took him home, took care of his wounds, bathed him and gave him the opportunity to go to his street school. After this, he was returned to his parents with the street educator’s pledge to keep helping him with his education and food.
However, back with his parents, he was again forced to beg and scavenge and roughly beaten for not earning as expected. Then at the age of 5, while scavenging, Kesz was pushed into a pile of burning tires which burned him severely on the arms and back. As his father wouldn’t help him or take him to a doctor, because they thought he was bad luck, he was brought by his mother to the house of the street educator barefooted and naked. The street educator immediately took him to the emergency room and had his wounds treated. He has transformed his own experiences into a drive to help other street children and inspire them to change their own lives.
2012 International Children’s Peace Prize Winner : Kesz