Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who won the 2014 World’s Children Prize that she received in Mariestad near Stockholm on Wednesday, said she would donate the $50,000 to rebuilding damaged schools in Palestine, which incidentally was recognised by the host country Sweden as a state on the same day.
Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year was also nominated for the 2014 World’s Children’s Prize for her courageous and dangerous fight for girls’ right to education. In fact, Malala has her own fund known as the Malala Fund, which helps girls get to school. The amount will be used for rebuilding 65 schools that were damaged in the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
Millions of children have voted for Malala to win this year’s World’s Children’s Prize for the rights of the child and the 2014 World’s Children’s honorary awards were given to Indira Ranamagar and John Wood with $25000 cash prize.
John Wood quit his job as a manager at the Microsoft to fight poverty by giving children all over the world the chance to go to school, while Indira Ranamagar was honoured for her 20-year struggle for prisoners’ children in Nepal.
The World Children’s prize, created in 2000 by the World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF), based in Mariefred, Sweden as a non-profit organization independent from any political and religious affiliations. It is supported by the Swedish Postcode Lottery and Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
Accepting her prize, Malala said: "I am honored to announce all my World’s Children’s prize money will go to help students and schools in an especially difficult place in Gaza." Praising the UN agency for "performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza", Malala said, "The needs are overwhelming more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future."
Since Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long, she said it is time to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment. "Because without education, there will never be peace," she said.
Accepting the donation, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said they were "deeply touched" by the gesture. Krahenbuhl said the donation "will lift the spirits of a quarter of a million UNRWA students in Gaza and boost the morale of our more than 9,000 teaching staff."
Appreciating Malala as a "symbol of the boundless potential that lies within each and every child on earth," Krahenbuhl said, "You are an aspirational figure to the next generation in Palestine and beyond. You are an inspiration to all of us."
UNRWA helps about five million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip in rpoviding education, health care, relief and social services.
It may be recalled that the Taliban militants shot Yousafzai in the head in 2012 for championing girls’ education in Pakistan. She survived the attack after flown to London for treatment, and she now lives in the UK.