GUBA’s humanitarian award winner, Mr James Kofi Annan has been nominated for the 2013 World Children Prize (WCP). The humanitarian award which was sponsored by the British High Commissioner to Ghana Mr Peter Jones went to the charity ‘Challenging Heights’ founded by Mr Annan.
Mr Isaac Rockson, Chairman of the Youth Advisory Board of the WCP announced the nomination at a press conference held in Takoradi. He said it was the first time a Ghanaian had been nominated for the prize since the initiation of the project in Ghana by the Advocates and Trainers for Children’s and Women’s Advancement and Rights (ATWAAR), in 2004. The WCP is an annual award ceremony to reward the humanitarian efforts of people working towards the universal freedom of children.
According to Mr Rockson, Mr Annan was a fishing slave for seven years but managed to escape, get an education and became a bank manager. Mr Annan has been working to rescue and rehabilitate children used as fishing slaves in Ghana for the past 10 years. He left his job at the bank six years ago to work solely to stop child slavery. His organization, Challenging Heights, was able to liberate 500 children from slavery in 2003.
“We are happy that a Ghanaian has been chosen for the award”- added Mr Rockson.
The second nominee for the WCP is Sompop Jantraka, a former child labourer who spent 25 years fighting the child sex trade and helping vulnerable children in the “Golden Triangle” area in Thailand and neighbouring countries.
The third nominee is Kimmie Weeks of Liberia who has been fighting for children affected by war for 20 years and while a child, exposed the President of Liberia for recruiting child soldiers.
All three candidates were chosen by an International Child Jury of the WCP. Thousands of Ghanaian children would join other children around the world in a Global Vote to select the winner of the prize. In 2008, about 600,000 children in eight regions in the country participated in the programme.
The candidates would be honoured at an award ceremony held at Gripsholm Castle, Sweden on October 17 2013, where Her Majesty Queen Silvia would help the children to present the awards. Mr Rockson added that this year’s prize money would be used to help children in slavery, children who have been exploited through trafficking and children orphaned by war.
The GUBA Humanitarian award was a prestigious and heavily contested award. Mr James Annan was a worthy winner and has proven so with his current WCP nomination. GUBA is very delighted with the work Mr Annan continues to do with his organisation and we hope that he continues to enrich the lives of children across the world.