An Indian schoolgirl based in UAE has won this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize for her fight to save the planet. Kehkashan Basu, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, was presented the award by Nobel Peace laureate Mohammad Yunus at a ceremony held in The Hague Dec. 3, Gulf News reported.
At the age of eight, Basu organized an awareness-raising campaign for the recycling of waste in her Dubai neighborhood. In 2012, she founded her own organization, Green Hope, which carries out environment-focused campaigns. Basu went on to become the youngest ever Global Coordinator for the Major Group for Children and Youth of the UN Environmental Program.
Basu has addressed various international conferences and her organization Green Hope was now active in ten countries with more than 1,000 young volunteers.
“It is a great achievement for such a young person to already have such reach and impact with her important message,” said Yunus. “Kehkashan teaches us that we all have a responsibility to work towards a sustainable future,” he added.
The schoolgirl won because she had proved her ability to start a movement with real impact, said Marc Dullaert, the founder of the Kids Rights Foundation. The Amsterdam-based global children’s aid group runs the award program, which started in 2005.
After receiving the prize, Basu said she would “keep campaigning to encourage children and adults to create a more sustainable future.” Basu currently divides her time between the UAE and Canada, where she has moved to study.
“I call upon everyone to think of how they can contribute to the preservation of the environment… Time is not on our side – we have to act now, or we will have polar bears under palm trees,” she said.