My daughter Elsa has strong feelings for all children's right to an education and a safe childhood environment, so she felt both proud and happy when she was selected to represent her school at the World's Children's Prize ceremony the other day. This is her story about the event.
Worldwide educational program
The World’s Children’s Prize Foundation is a Swedish independent, non-profit organization that manages a worldwide educational program to teach children about their rights and also about democracy, environment and global friendship. So far 59 748 Global Friend schools in 110 countries have joined the program, and my school is one of them.
World's Children's Prize
As part of the program we voted on who should receive the World’s Children’s Prize. This prize is given as an encouragement for the winners to continue their good work for children's rights.
Three candidates were selected among many more nominated by a jury of 15 young people who have their own experience on violations of children's rights. At the end of the program we could give our votes to one of the candidates.
Malala Yousafzai won the World’s Children’s Prize, this year. She has recently been awarded a shared Nobel Peace Prize, and she is the only person ever who has received the Nobel Peace Prize and the World's Children's Prize in the same year. Nelson Mandela has also been awarded both Prizes, but not in the same year.
Malala is well known to everyone for her fight for girls’ right to go to school, but even if she is an admirable person she did not get my vote. She already gets so much media attention, and I wanted the prize to go to someone who deserves the same attention but does not get it.
The two other candidates were John Wood, who has built 1 700 schools and 15 000 school libraries in some of the poorest countries in the world, and Indira Ranamagar, who was nominated for her 20 years of fighting for the rights of prisoners' children in Nepal.
I decided to vote for Indira Ranamagar, because she had taken the children she rescued from prison into her home and raised them as if they were her own children. It was an honor for me to meet her and get a chance to tell her in person how much I admire her work.
Audition for the ceremony
When my school decided to send three representatives to the prize ceremony in the Gripsholm Castle near Stockholm I wanted to be one of them. There was an audition, where I was asked about children's rights and why I thought I would be a good representative.
I pointed to my good English skills, which I have practiced not only in school but also during visits to relatives in the U.S. and to the kalmstrom.com team in India.
This image is from Indore and shows me with one of the team members, Neha Gupta Kaushal, who I know is also interested in children's rights.
Ceremony and dinner
I was selected to go to Gripsholm, and it was a fantastic experience. All the children in the jury were there, and Queen Silvia of Sweden helped them present the winner. Before the ceremoni the Swedish prime minister Stefan Löven held a speech where he greeted us all.
After the ceremony there was a dinner, and I could meet not only Indira and John Wood (Malala could not be present) but also the Swedish singer Loreen, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. Loreen is a patron of the World's Children 's Prize and supports the construction of schools in Afghanistan.
Being present at the World’s Children’s Prize Ceremony was an experience I will never forget. The whole program has been very interesting and I have learned a lot!
Elsa Kate Lönngren-Kalmström