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Malala Yousafzai Malik chosen as ‘Decade Child Rights Hero’ at World’s Children’s Prize (WCP) 2022

Malala Yousafzai Malik. Picture: Supplied

Malala Yousafzai Malik. Picture: Supplied

Published May 26, 2022


Almost two million children from South Africa and around the globe cast their votes for activist Malala Yousafzai Malik as their “Decade Child Rights Hero”.

Malik fought for every girl’s right to education and a life of freedom in Pakistan and all over the world through her organisation, “Malala Fund”.

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For her tireless effort, which veered into life-threatening struggles, she was elected WCP “Decade Child Rights Hero” in 2022.

The award forms part of the World’s Children’s Prize (WCP) Program, which is the world’s largest annual programme educating and empowering children to become change-makers, who stand up for the equal value of all people, the rights of the child, human rights, democracy, and sustainable development.

Attended by Queen Silvia of Sweden, the award ceremony was held recently at Gripsholm Castle in Mariefred, Sweden.

Malala won the award after being nominated alongside seven other candidates. She follows in the footsteps of the late Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu and Graça Machel.

“I was honoured to receive the World’s Children’s Prize in 2014, and then today to have this title as ‘Decade Child Rights Hero’ added is a huge honour. I hope that it will give me more motivation to continue my activism for girls’ education.

“I have this mission to see all girls receiving safe, quality and free education. Right now all over the world there are 127 million girls who don’t have access to school. These girls have dreams, just like us,” said Malala via livestream.

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The candidates have all been fighting for the rights of vulnerable children for a combination of over 200 years. They give hope and a better life to child soldiers, trafficked children and children who experience discrimination.

The ceremony was led by children from 12 countries, including Sesethu from Cape Town, who represented children who are deaf and demand respect for their rights, while “Idols SA” winner Yanga Sobetwa and other youngsters performed at the ceremony.

It is the second time children around the world have chosen a WCP “Decade Child Rights Hero” from among all those recognised in the World’s Children’s Prize over the past decade.

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In 2010, the children chose Nelson Mandela and his widow Graça Machel as their ‘Decade Child Rights Heroes’.

The other candidates that received the Child Rights Heroes’ Honorary Award include: Child soldier rescuer Murhabazi Namegabe from DR Congo; rescuer of trafficked children James Kofi Annan from Ghana; Rachel Lloyd from US, who campaigns against the commercial sexual exploitation of children; Ashok Dyalchand from India, who fights for schooling for girls and against child marriage; and Phymean Noun from Cambodia, who gives children access to education.

There were two posthumous recipients, both of whom fought for the rights of children discriminated against because they are differently-abled, Anna Mollel, for Maasai children in Tanzania, and Manuel Rodrigues, mainly for blind children in Guinea Bissau.

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The WCP Foundation receives support from the Swedish Postcode Lottery, Sida and ForumCiv, Queen Silvia’s foundation ‘Care About the Children’, Survé Philanthropies, Sparbanksstiftelsen Rekarne and several family funds.