Children’s rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who on Wednesday received the 2014 World’s Children’s Prize in Sweden, said she would donate the $50,000 award money to help rebuild schools in Gaza.
The 17-year-old Pakistani girl was awarded the prize for “her courageous and dangerous fight for girls’ right to education.”
The World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child is given for work toward “a more humane world in support of the rights of the child.”
Yousafzai, who became the world’s youngest Nobel laureate earlier this month when she was awarded the peace prize, said she was honoured to win this accolade, known also as the “Children’s Nobel”, which involved millions of votes from children around the world.
She said she would donate all of the prize money to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA said in a statement.
"Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long," the agency quoted Malala as saying.
"We must all work to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment."
Several UNRWA schools were damaged during the 50-day conflict in July and August between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, and nearly 2,200 Palestinians were killed, almost a quarter of them children.
Yousafzai said the annual prize, worth $50,000 in money that is traditionally donated to children’s causes, is a sign that children strongly support the right to education.
“It shows that now children are standing up for their rights, they say that education for every child,” she told Swedish broadcaster SVT.
Yousafzai began speaking out for the rights of girls at age 11 in her country and was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago. She was flown to Britain for treatment but said she doesn’t remember the shooting except for the “severe pain” when recovering.
Messages, TV greetings and postcards from children worldwide helped and encouraged her.
“It gave me hope. It lessened the pain that I had. I just thought before this incident I was maybe one girl, now we are millions,” she said.
The 2014 World’s Children’s honorary awards, each worth $25,000, went to former US Microsoft executive John Wood for promoting children’s reading programs and to Nepalese social worker Indira Ranamagar for helping prisoners’ children.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)
Date created : 2014-10-29