Renowned child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai were on Friday declared the joint winners of the Nobel Peace award. The committee said it was important that a Muslim and a Hindu, a Pakistani and an Indian, had joined in what it called a common struggle for education and against extremism.
Satyarthi founded and runs Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which campaigns for child rights and an end to human trafficking. This organization dedicated to child rights which has freed over 80,000 children from various forms of servitude and helped in their reintegration, rehabilitation and education.
Malala was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen, in October 2012,in Swat Valley in Pakistan for campaigning for girls’ education. She since recovered from the attack and has remained in the public eye, publishing an autobiography and addressing the UN General Assembly. She now lives in Birmingham in the UK.
While announcing the award, the Nobel committee praised the pair’s “struggle against the suppression of children and young people”. The committee at the Nobel Institute said, Satyarthi has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee, said, “Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai, has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education and has shown by example that children and young people too can contribute to improving their own situations. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”
Reacting to this announcement, Satyarthi said, “It’s a great honour for all the Indians, it’s an honour for all those children who have been still living in slavery despite of all the advancement in technology, market and economy. I dedicate this award to all those children in the world.” Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, said that the prize would boost the courage of Malala and enhance her capability to work for the cause of girls’ education.
Satyarthi and Malala will now be invited to attend an award ceremony in Oslo in December to receive a medal and $1.4m (£860,000) pounds in prize money.