Kehkashan Basu, a UAE-based 16-year-old Indian environmental and social activist won the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize for 2016. Mohammad Yunus, Bangladesh’s Nobel peace laureate, presented the award to Ms. Basu at a ceremony in The Hague. Kids Rights Foundation is honouring Ms. Basu for the exceptional work done by the organisation Green Hope UAE, founded by her. In fact, the organisation is now spread over 10 countries around the world.
Insights to Ms. Basu’s work
Ms.Basu, inspired by her grandmother’s rooftop garden in Kolkata, founded the Green Hope UAE at the age of 12. Since its inception, the organisation has planted over 5700 trees in over 5 countries. Furthermore, it has undertaken numerous campaigns including mitigating climate change, stopping land degradation and promoting gender equality. “What started as one young girl’s initiative is now a sizeable organisation… with a management team comprised entirely of children who even use their own pocket money to fund their environmental activities”, said competition organisers KidsRights.
She recalls the story of the Green Hope foundation while at a conference and says, “When I was 12 years old (in 2012), I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Earth Summit also known as Rio+20 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. There were 50,000 delegates, heads of state etc at this summit but only a handful of children and I was among the youngest.”
Our multi-talented Hero…
Another noteworthy dimension of our child prodigy is that she is an all rounder. World Future Council writes, “Kehkashan is a proficient musician and she sings, plays the piano and guitar. She has won several quizzes and art, poetry and photography competitions… In 2010 and 2013 Kehkashan won the highest educational award of the gulf region, the prestigious HH Sheikh Hamdan Award for Distinguished Academic Performance.” While she aspires to be a nuclear scientist, she wants to find means of harnessing the clean energy of the atom to solve the needs of our planet in a sustainable manner.
Interestingly, Ms. Basu was born on 5th June which is also World Environment Day. Hence, she feels that she was pre-destined to become an eco-warrior. We salute our eco-warrior for her ardent commitment and for encouraging us all not to stop saving the planet, come what may!