Here is a short clip of an inspiring story of an amazing 13-year old Filipino boy named Cris “Kesz” Valdez who was recently awarded this year’s “International Children’s Peace Prize” at the Ridderzaal in The Hague, The Netherlands.
The Feed the Hungry, Inc. Books Program headed by Celia Donahue and other volunteers from the Washington, D.C. area had the privilege of meeting Kesz at the handing over of the PhP50,000 FtH donation to Efren Penaflorida’s Kariton Project in February 2012 in Kawit, Cavite. Efren won the CNN Hero of the Year in 2009.
Kesz has won the prestigious children’s award for his work to improve the rights of his fellow street kids. He was chosen from three finalists for the work of his “Championing Community Children” charity that raises funds to hand out gift parcels to needy children in Cavite City, about 18 miles south of Manila.
South African peace icon and 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who handed over this year’s prize, told Kesz, “you are wonderful,” at a press conference shortly after the ceremony held in The Hague’s historic Knight’s Hall.
Kesz said that his message to children around the world is not to lose hope and to remember things like hygiene. He added that the prize would help him get an education and perhaps realize his dream of becoming a doctor.
Through his charity, Kesz has handed out more than 5,000 gifts to destitute children that included everyday articles like flip-flops, toys, sweets, and clothes, according to the prize initiator, KidsRights Foundation. The Foundation added that in all, Kesz has helped some 10,000 children in his area on health, hygiene, and children’s rights. It also said that, like Kesz, some 246,000 street children in the Philippines are subjected to abuse, violence, and child labor.
Asked about the $130,000 cash prize money, KidsRight Foundation Chairman Marc Dullaert said a committee was now to decide, together with Kesz, to which projects it would be donated.