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Thursday, 11 December 2014

India's Kailash Satyarthi Also Receives His Nobel Peace Prize

India's Kailash Satyarthi has also received his Nobel Prize alongside Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai. The 60-year-old, who shared the Prize with Malala, forfeited a promising career as an electrical engineer in India in 1980. Satyarthi is an Indian children's rights advocate and an activist against child labour. He founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan in 1980 and has acted to protect the rights of more than 83,000 children from 144 countries. Go here for full speech.

In his words: I represent here the sound of silence. The cry of innocence. And, the face of invisibility. I have come here to share the voices and dreams of our children, our children, because they are all our children. I have looked into their frightened and exhausted eyes. And I have heard their urgent questions. Twenty years ago, in the foothills of the Himalayas, I met a small, skinny boy. He asked me: "Is the world so poor that it cannot give me a toy and a book, instead of forcing me to take a tool or gun?"

I met with a Sudanese child-soldier who was kidnapped by an extremist militia. As his first training, he was forced to kill his friends and family. He asked me: "What is my fault?" Twelve years ago, a child-mother from the streets of Colombia - trafficked, raped, enslaved - asked me this: "I have never had a dream. Can my child have one?" There is no greater violence than to deny the dreams of our children.

 
The single aim of my life is that every child is:

free to be a child,

free to grow and develop,

free to eat, sleep, see daylight,

free to laugh and cry,

free to play,

free to learn, free to go to school, and above all,

free to dream.

All the great religions tell us to care for children. Jesus said: "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them." The Holy Quran says: "Kill not your children because of poverty."
I refuse to accept that all the temples and mosques and churches and prayer houses have no place for the dreams of our children. I refuse to accept that the world is so poor, when just one week of global spending on armies is enough to bring all of our children into classrooms. I refuse to accept that all the laws and constitutions, and the judges and the police are not able to protect our children. I refuse to accept that the shackles of slavery can ever be stronger than the quest for freedom.

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