For the first time in history, a Ghanian Child has been nominated for the 2013 World Children Prize (WCP). The nominee is James Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian former child slave and now a bank manager. The WCP project was initiated in Ghana by the Advocates and Trainers for Children’s and Women’s Advancement and Rights (ATWAAR) with 500 children in seven schools in 2004.
As a child, Mr. Annan was a fishing slave for seven years but managed to escape, get an education and became a bank manager. Now he has been working to rescue and rehabilitate children used as fishing slaves in Ghana for the past 10 years. Six years ago, Mr. Annan left the bank to work solely to stop child slavery and formed an organization, Challenging Heights, which was able to liberate 500 children from slavery in 2003.
The announcement came during a press conference from Master Isaac Rockson, Chairman of the Youth Advisory Board of the WCP. “We are happy that a Ghanaian has been chosen for the award”, he said.
There were a total of three candidates chosen by an International Child Jury of the WCP. The second nominee is Sompop Jantraka, a former child laborer who spent 25 years fighting the child sex trade and helping vulnerable children in the “Golden Triangle” area in Thailand and neighboring countries. The third nominee is Kimmie Weeks of Liberia who has been fighting for children affected by war for 20 years and while a child, he exposed the President of Liberia for recruiting child soldiers, he said.
All three candidates would be honored at an award ceremony at Gripsholm Castle in Mariefred in Sweden on October 17 this year where High Majesty Queen Silvia would help the children to present the awards. Thousands of children from around the world will participate in the Global Vote to select the winner of the prize. This year’s prize money would be used to help children in slavery, children who have been exploited through trafficking and children orphaned by war.