A 16-year old UAE based Indian environmental activist Kehkashan Basu has won 2016 prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize. The teenage girl was bestowed with this prestigious award for her fight for climate justice and combating environmental degradation. She was presented with the award by Bangladesh’s Nobel peace laureate Mohammad Yunus at a glittering ceremony held in The Hague, Netherlands.
At tender age of eight, Ms. Basu had started campaign to educate her neighbours on the importance of saving the environment. She had brought together children to collect and recycle waste, while also planting trees. She had founded her environmental organisation Green Hope based in the United Arab Emirates at the age of twelve. Through it, she has initiated countless cleanup operations and awareness campaigns. Now the organisation has over 1,000 volunteers in 10 countries around the world. The organisation has successfully implemented environmental projects, including planting 5,000 trees in Colombia, Mexico, France, Nepal, Oman and the United States. Basu was nominated for the Children’s Peace Prize by her father and was selected for the award from among 120 nominees from 49 countries.
After receiving the prize, Basu said she would “keep campaigning to encourage children and adults to create a more sustainable future…I call upon everyone to think of how they can contribute to the preservation of the environment…Time is not on our side — we have to act now, or we will have polar bears under palm trees”.
The International Children’s Peace Prize, launched in 2005 by Marc Dullaert, Chairman and Founder of the Amsterdam-based children’s rights organization, KidsRights, is awarded annually to a child who has made a significant contribution to advocating children’s rights and improving the situation of vulnerable children. It carries monetary award 100,000 euro ($106,000) investment for projects in the winner’s home country.