Sixteen-year-old Mohamad Al Jounde from Syria was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize here on Monday for his efforts to ensure the rights of Syrian refugee children. Al Jounde, a refugee of the Syrian civil war, set up a school together with his family in a Lebanese refugee camp that currently provides 200 children with eduction, Xinhua news agency reported.
“School is not only a place where you can learn how to write and read, it is also a place where you can make friends and memories, learn about new people and teach other people about yourself. School is a place where you can become who you are, where you can express yourself freely and discuss your ideas with your peers and teachers,” he was quoted as saying.
Al Jounde received the prize from Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work for children’s rights.
Yousafzai won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2013, for her activist work in education, particularly for girls.
“As Mohamad knows, Syria’s future depends on its children. And their future depends on education. Despite all they have personally suffered, Mohamad and his family have helped many children go to school,” she said.
Worldwide, there are currently 28 million displaced children and the Syrian civil war alone has led to 2.5 million child refugees, most of whom have poor or no access to education, she added.
Since 2005, KidsRights, the foundation committed to defending children’s rights worldwide, annually awards the International Children’s Peace Prize to a child whose actions have made a difference in improving children’s rights, which helps children worldwide.