Music Room, Malacañang
9 November 2012
President Benigno S. Aquino III received at the Malacañan Palace the 13-year old boy named Kesz who was recently awarded this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize, an award given annually to an exceptional child who has exhibited courageous and remarkable acts that have made a difference to advocate children’s rights.
Kesz was chosen from among three other international contenders for his contributions in promoting the rights of street children in the Philippines. Despite coming from the same background as 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida and spending his early childhood in dumpsites where he scavenged for food and was physically abused by his own parents, Kesz was able to turn his life around with the help of Efren and Dynamic Teen Company (DTC) founder and mentor Harnin Bonn Manalaysay.
He now spearheads his own project entitled Championing Community Children (C3) where he has helped around 10,000 children. This is expected to only get bigger with the US$250,000 prize money included in the award which will be used solely to fund other projects by Kesz.
DTC also carries Efren Peñaflorida’s “Kariton Klasrum.” The organization hopes to provide better opportunities for the street children and the strayed youth through access to basic education in hopes to divert their attention from the dangers of street life.