Dharamshala January 16 - Jetsun Pema, the president of the Tibetan Children Villages has been nominated for the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC)
. The WCPRC empowers children and young people all over the world to be able to demand respect for their rights, and it has quickly grown into the world’s largest annual educational program for children on rights and democracy.
12,000 schools with 8 million children in 80 countries are behind the WCPRC, and the number is constantly growing. In 2006, around three million of those children will participate in a global vote to decide who receives the Global Friends’ Award
. An international child jury, made up of children whose experiences include being soldiers, slaves, refugees and street children, decide who will receive the other main prize, the World’s Children’s Prize.
More than 250 organisations all over the world support the children’s prizes, which were founded by the Swedish organisation called Children’s World.
Among the patrons of the children’s prizes are Nelson Mandela; Queen Silvia of Sweden; President Xanana Gusmão of East Timor; Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson; former Executive Director of Unicef, Carol Bellamy; former UN Under Secretary-General, Olara Otunnu; and Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Stiglitz of USA.
Better known to children as Amala (mother), Jetsun Pema has worked for the plight of Tibetan refugee children for forty years. As a student spending vacation in Dharamshala, Jetsun Pema would help her sister Tsering Dolma in taking care of the children of displaced Tibetans working at road construction sites. Bhusokhang (Nursery) as it was then called had only 51 students in 1960, the year of its inception. Today, it has grown into one of the largest residential schools in India.
The other nominees are THE ORPHANS’ ORGANISATION, AOCM, Rwanda, and CRAIG KIELBURGER, Canada.
The prize money of USD 100,000, is to be used in the prize laureates’ work for the rights of the child. The WCPRC is supported by AstraZeneca, Banco Fonder, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and PI.SE.
This year’s prize ceremony will be held on the 20th of April in Gripsholm Castle in Mariefred, Sweden. Queen Silvia will help the children to award the prizes. All three final candidates will be honoured.