[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ndia’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for their fight against the oppression of children and their right to education, will today receive the award at a ceremony in Oslo.
“Even if one single child is in danger then the entire world is in danger,” Mr Satyarthi, 60, said on Tuesday at a joint press conference with 17-year-old Malala, with whom he will share the $ 1.1 million prize. “We are not here just to accept our award and get this medal and go back home, no, we are here to tell the children especially that you need to stand up, you need to speak up for your rights,” said the teen, the youngest ever Nobel laureate, who survived a near-fatal attack by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls’ right to education.
Describing Malala as a “wonderful girl”, Mr Satyarthi said she is the bravest child one could think of. “She’s like my daughter, I adore and respect her a lot,” he said. Their pairing has the extra symbolism of linking neighbouring countries that have been in conflict for decades. After being named for the award, Malala had said she hoped the prime ministers of both nations would attend the prize-giving ceremony in Oslo.
The Pakistani teen has dominated Noble coverage in the media but Mr Satyarthi said he did not mind. “I never in my life tried to be in the limelight because I work with children who are most invisible,” the activist said, adding “My cause had remained invisible for years and so did I”. Mr Satyarthi, who gave up a career as an electrical engineer in 1980 to campaign against child labour, has headed various forms of peaceful protest. His non-government organization, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) has been credited with freeing more than 80,000 child labourers in India over 30 years. He estimates that about 60 million children are still at work.
“We have to work towards peace for children and children for peace… We have to create such a world,” he said.