Children are the future and securing it is essential. All around the world, young minds are boldly stepping up to the challenge, carving their desired world and challenging the older generation to do better.
The peaceful coexistence and development of the African continent have been tremendously impacted by terrorism.
Escalation of violence and insecurity perpetrated by terrorist groups like Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, and the various affiliations of Al-Qaeda, sadly gaining power and influence over the past decades in Africa. Weak governance, corruption, insecurity, and ethnic divisions, leading to high youth unemployment and therefore poverty has created conditions under which violent extremist groups thrives.
Enter International Children’s Peace Prize Winner, social activist Divina Maloum, as winner of the fifteenth International Children’s Peace Prize, of 2019, Maloum was awarded for her efforts in “Promoting children’s rights by visiting the school to warn students against joining armed groups, such as Boko Haram.”
She runs her foundations Art for Peace and Children for Peace (C4P) which is actively powering to see her vision through.
Divina Maloum at the tender age of eleven traveled to Northern Cameroon, the trip will serve as a life-changing experience, she noticed the sickening pattern of children in her country being most susceptible to terrorist attacks.
Several children go through untold torture and trauma, abducted, abused, brutalized, tortured, and forcibly recruited to join terrorist groups. Relatives and parents killed right in front of them. Many young girls are forced into sexual slavery and early marriages either by Boko Haram members or by their parents to overcome their financial difficulties or end up seeking refuge becoming internally displaced or refugees In another land, exposed to trafficking and several fits of abuse.
Burdened, she decided to do something about it, this was the beginning of a dream bigger than her. In 2015 she founded Children for Peace (C4P), an international initiative that focuses on the prevention of use of children in war, ending child marriage, preventing Islamist radicalization, and speaking out for the right of children to live lives free of violence.
She believes with the strengthening of human rights and peacebuilding, fewer conflicts, less attraction to violent extremism, less brutality in communities, and consequently peaceful cities will abound.
Since 2014 she has been challenging her energy towards peacebuilding.
“Acting for peace is first of all a matter of heart, engagement, and passion. Everyone can start somewhere with or without consequential means. Every action counts. You may start by sensitizing your relatives, friends, and even parents on the importance of peacebuilding.” Divina Maloum says
As part of efforts commending the inspiring teen for her amazing selfless work, age 14 she was announced the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize, by foremost human rights activist and former Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu.