Malala receiving the World Children’s Prize from Sweden’s Queen Silvia at a ceremony in Stockholm on Wednesday
Teenage Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai has donated the prize money from her latest accolade towards rebuilding United Nations schools damaged during Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip this summer.
Yousafzai, 17, received the World Children’s Prize from Sweden’s Queen Silvia at a ceremony in Stockholm on Wednesday and promptly announced that the cash prize of $50,000 will be channelled to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
“We must all work 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.” Malala said.
The UNRWA said the money would help towards the rebuilding of the 65 schools that were damaged during the latest flare-up of violence between Israel and Palestine.
The violence killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, and more than 70 Israelis.
UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl commended the donation, saying the UN was “deeply touched” by the gesture and that it would “lift the spirits” of a quarter of a million UNRWA students and “boost the morale” of the more than 9,000 teaching staff there.
In addition, he praised Ms. Yousafzai for her personal courage and her role as “a symbol of the boundless potential that lies within each and every child on Earth.”
“UNRWA shares with you the profound belief in the importance of education as a means to lift young girls and boys out of isolation, exclusion or oppression,” Mr. Krähenbühl continued.
“Acquiring skills and knowledge to improve prospects for the future is profoundly engrained in the Palestinian consciousness.”
Following the devastation wrought by the conflict, UNRWA announced it is providing food, water and sanitation services to over 40,000 displaced people in 18 of its installations, psycho-social support particularly for children, cash grants to the homeless for rent, as well as urgent repairs to a total of 118 UNRWA installations.
The prestigious World Children’s Prize is the latest accolade granted Malala who earlier this month became the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, a prize she shared with Indian children’s rights campaigner Kailesh Satyarti.