Nkosi - KidsRights
“We are all the same!”


Country of origin
South Africa
Current country
South Africa
Nkosi (1989-2001) is the first winner of the International Children's Peace Prize ever. In 2005, the prize was awarded to him, posthumously. The statuette, the Nkosi, is awarded each year, and is named after him. Nkosi, a child that changed the world.

Nkosi grew up in Johannesburg, a large South African city and was a strong advocate for the rights of children with HIV/AIDS. On his 11th birthday, he spoke at the AIDS Conference in Durban. Thousands of people were present and millions of people watched him on live tv when he said: “I am Nkosi and I was born with HIV positive. My mother had HIV without knowing it. A mother can transfer the virus to her child during pregnancy or birth, so I also got the disease. Today, the chances of transmission of HIV/AIDS can be reduced by the use of antiretrovirals. People are afraid of HIV and AIDS, therefore my mama lived in fear, scared of being chased away by her neighbors. She brought me to a shelter for people with HIV/AIDS when I was 2 years old. Some time later, the shelter had to close down due to financial issues. Fortunately, the director, Gail Johnson, took me home with her.”

Gail became Nkosi's  foster mom, he lived with her and her family for 9 years.  "In 1997, mama Gail tried to enrol me into a school. I wasn’t accepted because of my HIV/AIDS infection. Many parents didn’t want an infected child near their own child. In a  workshop on HIV/AIDS, we taught those parents not be afraid, as HIV/AIDS isn’t transferred just like that. Since then, this school no longer discriminates against children with HIV/AIDS. I was finally admitted.”  

Together we move the world

KidsRights keeps on supporting Nkosi, as a change maker, in his fight for the rights of children with HIV/AIDS. She does so through support to Nkosi’s Haven, a shelter for mothers with HIV and their children founded by Nkosi and his foster mom Gail.   

His mission

Gail: "Nkosi was separated from his mother at a young age, because both were HIV-positive. He missed her a lot. That is why we started Nkosi's Haven - so that mothers and children can stay together despite their illness. Two years before his death, Nkosi opened the shelter where dozens of mothers and their children are being helped yearly. Nkosi would be so proud and happy. "


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.
Child participation
Karthik’s children’s manifest
What is the problem? Political parties in Karthik’s neighbourhood do not respect children’s rights. The needs of children are not taken into consideration and hardly any money is made available for this. The rights of children are just ignored. The right to education, for example, is only applicable to children up to and including 14 years old and child labour is allowed after this age. Karthik wants to increase the age to this right to 18 years old. What is Karthik’s solution? Karthik is going to gather 20 active and concerned children and youth in one group. Together they will make sure that the age is increased from 14 to 18 years old. The group will do this by presenting a manifest to local political parties. A manifest is a document containing a summary of clear statements which everyone can read. This manifest will be drawn up by a group of 20 children and youth. The themes child labour and education will be the key elements. Just before the elections, the youth group will meet the political parties to present the manifest personally. What is his goal? His goal will be achieved when Karthik’s community treats children with respect and political parties take children’s rights seriously. How does Karthik work? Karthik will coordinate and execute the project himself. He expects that it will be a challenge to reach the political parties before the elections. The parties will of course be busy with their campaigns. Together with the other youth he wants to plan an appropriate strategy for this. What does Karthik need? Advice from KidsRights Information on projects like his. Who does he need? Motivated children and youth who want to work with him on the manifest. Volunteers A local Indian organisation that will help him.
Godfrey’s Green Life
What is the problem?  Godfrey sees in his surroundings, for example on the beach, on the street where he lives and in schoolyards, a lot of rubbish lying around. People do not know what to do with rubbish; recycling is hardly ever done. Godfrey thinks that many people do not know exactly what they should do with their rubbish. That’s why he wants to take action! What is Godfrey’s solution? Godfrey would like to inform his community about the environment and its preservation. In this way people will be more aware of their surroundings and maybe even pick up the rubbish lying around. To get people to be more aware, he wants to plant 50 trees with a group of people, because this will contribute to the preservation of nature and the improvement of the climate. When planting the trees he wants tell participants the importance of this action. He also wants to show how to recycle and re-use plastic by making things for the home, for example. Citizens can make a difference in the preservation of the environment by taking good care of it. Godfrey wants to raise awareness by giving information and taking immediate action, What is the goal?  Godfrey’s goal is to see a difference in his surroundings, that people are responsible for their rubbish and that the streets are no longer filthy. He wants to reach out to at least 100 people with his project. How will Godfrey work?  Godfrey will set up a team who will work with him on his project. He sees this as the biggest challenge in his project. After his project, he will look after and care for the young trees, which will be planted during his project. Who does Godfrey need?   ·       His brother and two friends (16 -18 years old) will help him with the project. ·       Participants of all ages. What doesGodfrey need?   ·       Advice and guidance to set up his project and to make it a success. ·       Trees
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