Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cris "Kesz" Valdez

Kesz Valdez was a victim of maltreatment and child abuse in the Philippines.He forced to scavenge on dumpsites at the age of two and suffered 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. Poverty in the nation is the cause why children are forced to work so hard to at least they can help their parents to buy food to ate.

Kesz at the young age of seven, he did something about his situation and founded an organization that helps poor children in Cavite.That's what made him a unique one.Kesz is now 13 years old and 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.

Peace prize winner Cris "Kesz" Valdez with Archbishop Tutu. (AAP)

From Garbage-Picker to Finalist for International Children’s Peace Prize

A Filipino teenager has won a prestigious children's award in the Netherlands. 

A young Filipino who lived off a rubbish dump and slept in an open tomb has won a prestigious children's award in the Netherlands for his work to improve the rights of his fellow street kids. 

Cris "Kesz" Valdez, aged 13, was handed this year's International Children's Peace Prize at a glittering ceremony in The Hague on Wednesday, where he received a 100,000 euro ($130,000) prize. 

Valdez was chosen from three finalists for the work of his "Championing Community Children" charity which raises funds to hand out gift parcels to needy children in Cavite City, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of the capital Manila. 

"You are wonderful," Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, who handed over this year's prize, told Valdez at a press conference shortly after the ceremony, held in The Hague's historic Knight's Hall. 

"My message to children around the world is not to lose hope" and to remember things like hygiene, said Valdez, who added that the prize would help him get an education and perhaps realise his dream of becoming a doctor. 

Through his charity, Valdez has handed out more than 5,000 gifts to destitute children that included everyday articles like flip-flops, toys, sweets and clothes, said the KidsRights Foundation, the prize's initiator. 

In all, he has helped some 10,000 children in his area on health, hygiene and children's rights, the foundation added. 

Some 246,000 street children are, like Valdez was as a young child, subjected to abuse, violence and child labour in the Philippines, it said. 

Asked about the prize money, KidsRights Foundation chairman Marc Dullaert said a committee was now to decide, together with Valdez, to which projects it would be donated. 

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