(NNPA/GIN)– From a sugar cane workers village in the Dominican Republic, 16 year old Francia Simon was selected from among 80 entries to receive the global KidsRights prize for helping children, including Haitian refugees, obtain necessary ID documents.

“My own situation gave me a reason to work with other children, whose basic rights were violated since birth, without a name or nationality,” said Francia, who is Afro-Dominican and had no birth certificate herself until last year.  “Without a certificate, you are nothing.” she said.


Simon has helped 136 children obtain a birth certificate, go to school, and get health care, noted KidsRights, an organization based in Holland.  She will receive a prize of $131,000.

Runner-ups included: 15 year old Tatiana (U.S.), who sends books to Africa to help children learn to read and write; 16 year old Getahun (Ethiopia), who set up a children’s parliament to protect children’s rights; and 14 year old Emmanuel (Rwanda), who teaches other children how to save money, so that they can pay their own school fees.

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