Three youths from Oaxaca and another from Sinaloa have been nominated for the 2020 International Children’s Peace Prize.
They join 138 other children from 42 countries who are in the running for the prestigious award. Last year’s recipients were environmental activist Greta Thunberg from Sweden and peace advocate Divina Maloum from Cameroon.
The prize is awarded to “a child who has made a special effort to promote children’s rights and better the situation of vulnerable children,” according to the Children’s Peace Prize website.
One of Mexico’s nominees is Aleida Ruiz Sosa, a 14-year-old ballet dancer, activist, short story writer and defender of women’s rights from Oaxaca who has organized different activities for children with cancer, dance performances for nursing homes and workshops for prison inmates with children.
Ruiz plans to become a lawyer as well as a dancer.
Also from Oaxaca, Georgina Martínez Gracida, 17, has spent 10 years working to promote children’s rights and providing food and toys to low-income youths. After the 2017 earthquake, she put out a request for food donations and managed to fill a trailer with 30 tonnes of food. She has participated in various campaigns, such as Boys and Girls to the Rescue, which focused on helping 80,000 vulnerable children combat bullying and domestic violence.
She also supported the Nutrikids campaign that fed poor children, helped build classrooms in Santa María Atzompa and San Pedro Pochutla, and has been a speaker at various conferences.
“I realized that my voice could be heard and that I could be the voice of many children who perhaps did not have access to many of their rights such as education, such as health …” she told Milenio.
Her brother, Jorge Martínez Gracida, 12, created a 3D printed face shield for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as hospitalized children. The mask, consisting of a headband and two rivets, a plastic shield and a spring has proven popular, and he has received inquiries from as far as India about replicating the mask there.
“We can all be agents of change if we take action to help each other,” he says. Jorge dreams of becoming an engineer and studying abroad, perhaps working in robotics in China.
“I feel that if you dream of something, and you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything and for this reason I urge all young people that if they want to achieve something, to move on, to fight for their dream, not to be limited by what people tell them,” he said.
Also nominated is 16-year-old Enrique Ángel Figueroa Salazar of Mazatlán, who is passionate about children’s rights and wishes to change local, federal and global societies so that children can live a life free of violence.
At the end of October, three finalists will be announced by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, and a winner, who will receive 100,000 euro (US $117,000) to be invested in projects linked to their causes, will be selected in November.
Source: Milenio (sp)