North Toronto CI
student Kehkashan Basu is the winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize. The 16 year old was presented with the award earlier this month by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.
Basu earned the honour from the KidsRights Foundation
for her work on environmental issues, which has been a passion for her since she was 8 years old. Over the years, she has been recognized for her efforts in this area through a variety of appointments, including Youth Ambassador of World Future Council, Honorary Advisor for the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, and Hub Leader for Children of the Earth. In 2013, she was elected to a two-year term as the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Global Coordinator for Children & Youth. She is also the founder of Green Hope, a youth-led organization that provides young people a networking platform and workshops to raise awareness about the environment and sustainability. In 2015, she published a children’s book called “The Tree of Hope,” a story about young people taking action to mitigate climate change.
Basu is also a strong advocate for gender equality. She was invited to speak at the European Parliament in Brussels during the European Week of the Girl event in 2015 and at the World Bank’s 2015 Youth Summit in Washington DC.
The International Children’s Peace Prize serves as affirmation for continuing the important work to which Basu has dedicated herself. “I will keep encouraging children and adults to create a more sustainable future,” she said after receiving her prize. “I call upon everyone to think of ways to contribute to the preservation of the environment. Time is not on our side – we have to act now.”
While new to North Toronto CI, having arrived in Canada just this past September, she is already having an impact on the midtown school. She is on the executive of the North Toronto CI Environmental Club and thriving in her academic program, particularly in music and the sciences. She is also enrolled in a grade 11 leadership course, further developing innate skills she has that will no doubt serve her well now and in future.
Principal Joel Gorenkoff called Basu selfless, energetic, and passionate about helping kids. “Very rarely do you find someone so young and so confident and passionate about what she wants to do,” he said. “She’s a stellar student, yet she’s also managing a myriad of other issues and interests for kids and particularly for girls.”
With that kind of energy and enthusiasm, we’re likely to hear much more about this bright young woman in years ahead. That’s good news for young people and for the planet.