Millions of children will participate in the Global Vote and choose the recipient of the prize, often called the “Children’s Nobel Prize” by media around the world.
The nominees are:
Gabriel Meija Montoya for his efforts over the course of more than 30 years to support Colombia’s street children, child soldiers and children in prison. Father Gabriel has suffered repeated attempts on his life because of his work.
Rachel Lloyd, for her 20-year fight against the child sex trade in the US. During her childhood in England, Rachel herself was the victim of mental and physical abuse and was exploited in the sex industry.
Valeriu Nicolae for his tireless struggle to protect the poorest and most vulnerable children in Romania’s Ferentari ghetto. Valeriu grew up in extreme poverty and was discriminated against because he was Roma.
The candidates have been selected by a jury of children from 15 different countries.
Previous laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Ann Skelton, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (both posthumously).
Since its launch in 2000, some 40.6 million children have participated in the WCP program, which is the world’s largest annual rights and democracy education initiative for children. Patrons of the World’s Children’s Prize include Malala Youzafsai, the late Nelson Mandela, Queen Silvia of Sweden and Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
The WCP program educates and empowers children to become changemakers who stand up for human fellowship, the equal value of all people, the rights of the child, democracy and sustainable development. The majority of the children involved in the program live in poor countries affected by conflict. Children exploited as soldiers, slaves or in the child sex trade discover for the first time that they have rights and are able to make their voices heard.
Tributes will be paid to all three Child Rights Heroes at a child headed ceremony 19 April 2018 at Gripsholm Castle in Mariefred, Sweden.
The children will be assisted by Queen Silvia in presenting the awards. The prize money, which totals 100,000 US dollars, is used to support the Child Rights Heroes’ work and since the start has helped improve the lives of tens of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable children.
Patrons of the World’s Children’s Prize include Malala Youzafsai, the late Nelson Mandela, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Graça Machel, Desmond Tutu and Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. South African patrons also include the late Ahmed Kathrada, Iqbal Survé and the singer Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela.
The WCP program is supported by 70,000 schools in 116 countries, as well as the Departments of Education and 750 organisations. Since the program’s launch, half a million teachers have been trained to enable them to work with children’s rights, democracy and sustainable development in schools.
The World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF) is supported by a number of organisations, including the Swedish Postcode Lottery, Sida, Forum Syd, Julia & Hans Rausing Trust, H.M. Queen Silvia’s Care About the Children Foundation and the Survé Family Foundation.