From an abused child, forced to scavenge on dumpsites at the age of two, to suffering burns on his arms and back which forced him to run away from home, Kesz Valdez lived a painful childhood that is unfortunately not a unique case for children in the Philippines. Because of poverty, children are forced to work and sometimes, have lived in abuse and maltreatment. But what made Kesz life unique, is that at the young age of 7, he did something about his situation and founded an organization that helps poor children in Cavite. Now 13 years old, he is one of the three nominees (selected from 97 entries from different countries) for the 2012 International Children’s Peace Prize.
Launched during 2005 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit, The International Children’s Peace Prize is given to an exceptional child, whose acts and thoughts made a significant contribution to advocating children’s rights. Kesz’s role and founder of Championing Community Children, a group of young volunteers who sell candies and use the money they earn to buy HOPE GIFTS, packages with slippers, clothing and basic needs, for poor children in the community, made way for his nomination in this prestigious award.
In an interview, Kesz said that he believes that one does not need to reach a certain age or achieve financial success to make a difference on the lives of others. To date, Kesz’s foundation has helped 10,000 children and counting. More than the gifts, Kesz has given hope and inspiration to street children and their families.
The winner will be announced on the 19th of September and will be presented by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu in a ceremony at The Hague, Netherlands.
Photo from: www.childrenspeaceprize.org