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AkzoNobel Sponsors Girls' Rights Prize

Friday, August 30, 2013

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A Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education will receive €100,000 (about $133,410 USD) for her cause from AkzoNobel.

The funding from the world's largest paint and coatings company will be used to advance education of girls in Pakistan, the manufacturer said.

The funds accompany the award of the 2013 International Children’s Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai, now 16, of Pakistan, who has risked her life in fighting for access to education for girls all over the world.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, 16, is the 2013 recipient of the International Children's Peace Prize. The Taliban attempted to kill her last year.

The award, an initiative of Dutch children’s rights organization KidsRights, honors “a brave and talented child who has demonstrated special dedication to children’s rights,” according to an award release issued Tuesday (Aug. 27).

AkzoNobel, a Dutch-based multinational, says its Children’s Peace Prize will be used to further projects related to Yousafzai's efforts. This is the second year that the company has sponsored the prize.

Blogging for Education

Yousafzai gained fame at the age of 11 by writing “The Diary of a Pakistani School Girl,” a blog for the BBC, under the pseudonym "Gul Makai.”

The blog describes life under Taliban rule, including the Islamist organization's ban on girls attending school. Her posts detail her passion for school and the oppression of the Taliban in Pakistan.

An excerpt from a Jan. 3, 2009, entry:

“I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat [Valley]. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taliban’s edict.”

Taliban Target

In 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban as she and two friends were on their way home from school. “We do not tolerate people like Malala speaking against us," a Taliban spokesman had said.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

In this video, posted by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, in a news release, Yousafzai is seen exiting the hospital following treatment after being shot.

She was severely wounded and was treated in England, where she now lives and attends school, according to KidsRights.

“With her words and strong communication skills, she positively raises awareness to the fact that all children have the right to education in a safe environment,” the group said.

Setting the World in Motion

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman of Yemen will present the prize to Yousafzi on Sept. 6 in The Hague, Netherlands.

In addition to the AkzoNobel project fund, she will receive a Nkosi statuette, which depicts a child seting the world in motion.

She will also receive financial support for her education and a worldwide platform for her efforts to provide all girls with access to education, according to KidsRights.

“The winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize have proven that any child is able to change and to move the world,” said KidsRights founder and chairman Marc Dullaert.

“Each one of them has successfully fought to solve problems such as child slavery, poverty and the lack of access to education and healthcare."

2012 Peace Award

AkzoNobel sponsored the Children’s Peace Fund prize for the first time last year.

Kesz Kesz, 7
YouTube/Kids Rights

In 2012, the AkzoNobel-sponsored peace prize went to Kesz, then 13 (left), a former street child from the Philippines who is working to get children off the streets. At age 7 (right), Kesz started taking gifts to street children on his birthday.

The 2012 International Children’s Peace Prize went to Kesz, a 14-year-old former street child from the Philippines who overcame his own abusive experience to help other children get off the streets.

“[Kesz had been] severely abused and forced to scavenge at the dumpsite at the age of two,” KidsRights said in announcing the award.

“Three years later, he sustained burns on his arm and back, which forced him to run away and look for help. He has transformed his own experiences into a drive to help other street children and inspire them to change their own lives.”

AkzoNobel says the 2012 project fund is being invested in a range of projects designed to improve the welfare of street children in the Philippines.


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Awards and honors; Education

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