December 26, 1998 |
Imus, Cavite, Philippines
|Awards||2012 International Children's Peace Prize|
Kesz Valdez (born December 26, 1998, Imus, Cavite, Philippines) is a Filipino awardee of the 2012 International Children's Peace Prize in The Hague, Netherlands. He is the first southeast Asian to receive the International Children's Peace Prize and currently the youngest among the finalists nominated for the recognition.
What makes Kesz Valdez so extraordinary is that if you were to look for him at the age of two, you would have found him picking garbage in Manila’s infamous Captive dumpsite. Beaten by his father and neglected by his mother up till the age of four years old (after they failed to sell him), Kesz was labeled bad luck. Forced to beg, scavenge, eat garbage for food and bring back money to support his father’s drug and alcohol addictions, Kesz escaped from his family at four years old and spent his days begging on the streets in Manila's poorest slum area. At night he could be found sleeping on top of open graves or in shop doorways, surviving as a Filipino slum street kid for over 1 ½ years. He studied on an outreach group called Club 8586. Manalaysay treated Kesz's wounds after he was severely burned after falling into a fire. He took the boy under his wing. Manalaysay was the mentor of another humanitarian working for street children CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida. Kesz together with his guardian Harnin Manalaysay founded the Championing Community Children, an organization which aims at giving hope and showing the street children they can transform their own lives and inspire others to do so as well. Kesz helped more than 10,000 children in his community.
- "Pinoy peace prize awardee Kesz Valdez dedicates award to guardian". GMA News. September 25, 2012.
- "Young Pinoy peace awardee Kesz Valdez tells world's children: Do not lose hope". GMA News. September 25, 2012.
- "Filipino kid wins $130,000 peace prize". Inquirer Global Nation. September 22, 2012.
- "Cris "Kesz" Valdez, 13 year old boy, commended for winning 2012 International Children's Peace Prize". Remate. December 10, 2012.
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