Young Hira Akbar became the second native of Swat, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, after Malala Yousafzai to have been nominated for the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize for 2017. The 14-year-old, who belongs to the town of Saidu Sharif in the Swat district, has been recognised for her efforts to promote children’s rights in her native region, and specifically for her work against corporal punishment in schools and for the prevention of child marriages.
According to The Express Tribune, the teenager holds high ambitions in her quest for securing children’s rights.
“I’ll continue my struggle for the rights of my fellow students in Swat,” she said. “The nomination has motivated me to strive for children’s rights across the province.”
Hira Akbar isn’t the only one in her family to have worked for protection of children’s rights. Her father Mohammad Akbar is the founder of the NGO Child Rights Committee (CRC). In addition, her mother works for a women development organisation.
According to details available on the website of the International Children’s Peace Prize, Hira Akbar is the speaker of the CRC children’s group and an enthusiastic member of her school’s debating club, where she has worked to raise awareness about the ills of corporal punishment, and child rights in general.
“I want a world where every child has food, health, education, peaceful environment and equal rights to live,” she said.
Hira is among 169 nominees from 55 countries to have been nominated for the 2017 International Children’s Peace Prize. This internationally acclaimed annual award was launched by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 2005 and is given under the aegis of the NGO KidsRights Foundation. It is awarded to “a child who fights courageously to promote the rights of the child”.
According to the KidsRights Foundation, the prize aims to “provide a platform for children to express their ideas and personal involvement in children’s rights”. The winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize will be given a project fund of €100,000, which will be invested by KidsRights Foundation in projects relating to the winner’s cause in his or her country.
In addition, the winner will also receive a statuette, and a study and care grant that enables him or her to obtain education up until and including a university degree. Perhaps most importantly, the winner will also acquire a worldwide platform to promote his or her ideals and causes to the benefit of children’s rights.
The KidsRights Foundation will be announcing three finalists for the 2017 International Children’s Peace Prize on November 15. Later on December 4, a Nobel Peace Laureate will be awarding the prize to the winner at a ceremony held at The Hague, the Netherlands.