Abraham M. Keita - KidsRights
"Violence against children is always unfair and can be averted”
Name

Abraham M. Keita

Country of origin
Liberia
Current country
The United States
Age
21
Theme:
Abraham M. Keita, known simply as Keita, is the winner of the International Children's Peace Prize 2015. Born on the 21st of April in Liberia, he is committed to protecting children from violence. Abraham also fights for justice for children who are victims of violence.

My name is Keita. I was born in West Point, the largest slum of Monrovia, the capital city of  Liberia. In my country, children rights are violated on a daily basis, something I find totally unacceptable. It has to stop!  

The initiative 
I was five years old when rebels killed my father. A few years later, when I was 9 years old, a 13 year old girl in my neighborhood was sexually abused and murdered. The perpetrators were not caught. Together with many other children, I organized a peaceful demonstration against their impunity. It worked as the offenders finally got arrested! The success of our action motivated me to keep on fighting for justice ever since. 

Later on, I participated in the Liberian Children's Parliament, writing letters to the government, asking it to respect and realize children's rights. I also organized many peaceful demonstrations, and with great result! In 2012, the Liberian Government adopted a law for the protection of children!  

Together we move the world 
KidsRights supports me, as a changemaker, in the fight against violence and for justice in Liberia. We have informed, inspired and mobilized hundreds of children. We have also strengthened the position of nearly two thousand children and promoted the debate about sexual violence in Liberia.  

My mission 
My dream is living in a world where every child is safe, where he or she can participate in the decision-making process and where justice is being served. I want to change the world. It does not matter where you are or where you come from, you too can be a change maker who can make a difference to the world.  

Highlights

Environment
Kowsalya’s Eco-Clubs
What is the problem?  Kowsalya is a member of an Eco-Club in her village, via this club she worked on the project called ‘Our Earth… Our Hope’. By participating in this project, she gained a lot of knowledge about the environment and the protection of it. She learned how the use of plastic, and the existence of parthenium plant, which is bad for the environment. Parthenium plant is a plant that actually does not grow in India, but people do plant it. It needs lots of water, and results in other plants having less space to grow. Kowsalya wants to decrease the use of plastic and stop the planting of the parthenium plant. What is Kowsalya’s solution? Kowsalya learned a lot herself because of the Eco-Club and the ‘Our Earth… Our Hope’-project, and that is why she wants to reach other young people in the same way. She hopes to motivate young people in two villages to also take action for the environment and set up Eco-Clubs too. Kowsalya is going to do this via three activities: Teach classes about the environment in general, plastic bags, and parthenium plants. To make sure young people and children understand the effects the plastic and parthenium plants. Forming Eco-Clubs that will consist of children and young people. Kowsalya will guide the participants in this. Action! The Eco-Clubs will remove the parthenium plants from their village, and make sure that the use of plastic bags will decrease. They will do this by for example convincing stores to replace the plastic bags with recyclable bags. But also by motivating other people to bring their own bag when they go grocery shopping. What is the goal?  The final goal is to set up as many active Eco-Clubs as possible, in as many different villages as possible. Kowsalya’s goal during this project is to reach 30 young people and 30 adults in the two villages. Out of these people at least two Eco-Clubs of each 15 young people should be set up. The Eco-Clubs will in turn reach more people and create awareness. How does Kowsalya work?  Kowsalya will play a leading role in her project. She will teach the classes, guide the forming of the Eco-Clubs, and help them with setting up a plan of action. She sees it as a challenge to combine her studies with leading the project. Who does Kowsalya need?   10 members of the Eco-Club that she is a member of will help her with reaching the young people in two new villages. The local organizations for which she has done volunteer work will support her and her activities.
Health
Jeff's Anti-Jigger Campaign
What is the problem? In Jeff’s neighborhood, jiggers are causing big issues. Jiggers are little insects that nestle themselves under your skin and lay eggs there. This inflames the skin which has significant consequences on your health. According to Jeff, many people cannot walk or sit properly, because of the infection in their feet or buttocks. Jeff has had severe inflammations as a result of jiggers himself, and as a result could barely go to school. There are various ways to prevent and treat jiggers, such as paying attention to hygiene, wearing shoes, and removing jiggers, which can be done easily. Because of the poverty in Jeff’s neighborhood, these options are not a possibility for most people, which is why jiggers keeps spreading. There is also a taboo that plays a large role – local doctors do not want to threat jiggers, because they are afraid of getting infected themselves. As a result, people are not getting the help they need in the hospital. What is Jeff´s solution? When Jeff was 9, he decided to take action against jiggers. He made shoes from old car tires, and helped people remove jiggers. Later, Jeff decided that as many children as possible should learn how to do this. With the help of a social worker, he has started his own project, the Anti-Jigger Campaign, which will seek to inform people about jiggers, hygiene, and making shoes. What is the goal? Jeff wants to inform as many children as possible about treating and preventing jiggers. With his Anti-Jigger Campaign, he wants to start with around 30 children, by teaching them how to make shoes and protect themselves against jiggers. Jeff’s goal is to make sure all children can go to school again, and that adults can do their jobs without having health issues. He is convinced this will have a positive effect on his community’s economy. How does Jeff work? Jeff will start with preparing an informative meeting about hygiene, and a workshop about how to make shoes. He expects the biggest challenge to be finding children that want to take action with him. Everybody wants to stay as far away as possible from jiggers, and as a result are they afraid to help the infected people. What does Jeff need? Old car tires for the shoes. Basic first-aid supplies such as disinfecting supplies and bandages. Soap for washing the students. Scissors for making the shoes with car tires. Needles for removing jiggers Who does he need? Groups of people where he can come by to inform them and give workshops. Children that want to participate in his initiative.

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