UAE-based Indian teen wins prestigious children’s peace prize
Kehkashan Basu is an environmental activist fighting against climate justice and combating environmental degradation through her child-run organisation Green Hope, which now has more than 1,000 volunteers in 10 countries around the world.world Updated: Dec 03, 2016 22:13 IST
An Indian schoolgirl based in the United Arab Emirates has won this year’s prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize for her fight to save the planet.
Kehkashan Basu was presented the award by Bangladesh’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate and anti-poverty campaigner Mohammad Yunus at a glittering ceremony in The Hague.
Basu is an environmental activist fighting against climate justice and combating environmental degradation through her child-run organisation Green Hope, which now has more than 1,000 volunteers in 10 countries around the world.
“These are uncertain times, but I want to tell people to continue their work and not bother about it,” Basu, born in Dubai to Indian parents, told AFP.
“Do not stop what you’re doing. No matter what happens, we have to continue to save the planet.”
Inspired by her grandmother’s rooftop garden in Kolkata, the ambitious teen founded Green Hope at the age of 12 and within four years managed several successful environmental projects, including planting 5,000 trees in Colombia, France, Mexico, Nepal, Oman and the United States.
“What started as one young girl’s initiative is now a sizeable organisation... with a management team comprised entirely of children who even use their own pocket money to fund their environmental activities,” said competition organisers KidsRights.
Apart from planting trees, Green Hope also focuses on activities such as cleaning up mangrove swamps around the UAE, said Basu, who hoped to draw special attention to the threats facing fragile coastal forests.
The prize is awarded annually “to a child who fights courageously for children’s rights,” KidsRights said. It also includes a 100,000 euro investment for projects in the winner’s home country.
Past winners include Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai and the prize’s first recipient, Nkosi Johnson, a South African boy who shone a light on the plight of children with HIV/AIDS.