December 10, 2014

6000 children cheer Nobel Prize winners Malala and Kailash at Peace Party

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

Thousands of children today celebrated the amazing feats of children's rights campaigners and Nobel Peace Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi.

They gathered in Oslo, Norway, for the Peace Party held by Save The Children (or Redd Barna in Norwegian). Malala and Kailash were greeted with rapturous applause when they took to the stage outside the Nobel Peace Center an hour before receiving their awards at the official ceremony.

Malala joked to the 6000-strong crowd: "You have given me more energy than Red Bull."

The Norwegian schoolchildren used the moment to call for action on global education and mark their support for the biggest petition in history - the #UpForSchool Petition. The campaign, supported by both Malala and Kailash, is appealing to millions of people to demand world leaders take immediate action to get 58 million children - currently excluded from school because of child labour, child marriage, discrimination or attacks on schools - into classes and learning by 2015.

Malala said: "If you want all of us to succeed then we have to take care of each other. Stand up for every child’s rights. Let's see the day when every child will be getting quality education."

Crowd at Nobel Peace Party in Oslo

Thousands of children at the Nobel Peace Party in Oslo

Asked what it felt like to talk to the world, Malala said: "My voice was not heard by many people. Now many people are listening to it. I hope the whole world will listen. This is not the voice of just one girl. This is the voice of the millions of girls and boys who are deprived of education. We children want quality education."

Malala told how she had brought five friends with her to the Nobel Peace Prize events. They include Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan, who were with her on the school bus when she was shot by the Taliban in 2012. All five urged people to sign the #UpForSchool Petition. Tove Wang, head of Save The Children Norway, also called on young people around the world to add their signatures.

Kailash told the crowd: "There are many children who cannot have any dreams like you to go to school. Many are kidnapped and sold and put to work in factories and mines and other places.

"Each time I go to rescue a child I think that he is the most beautiful child on the earth. Each time I rescue a child and that smile appears on the face of that child I see the glimpse of God in him. Every single child matters. If one single child is in danger then the whole world is in danger. Let us unite the forces of children and youth.

"You are tomorrow, you are today. Your present can change the whole world. The world is in very safe hands because you care for other children."

Malala friends with #UpForSchool signs at Nobel Peace Party

Malala's friends are #UpForSchool - Kainat Soomro, Kainat Riaz, Shazia Ramzan, Amina Yusuf and Mezon Almellehan

The event was devised by a children’s committee consisting of 12 children aged 12 from primary schools in Oslo - and was hosted by children.

Ben Hewitt, Campaigns and Communications Director at A World At School, was also in the packed square and said: "6000 children turned up with huge expectations and the event did not disappoint. They were inspired by what they saw and heard from the Nobel Peace prize winners.

"Redd Barna have campaigned on education for many years and Oslo was the perfect place to hold this event. In 200 days, key decision makers will be coming back to Oslo for a crucial summit on education, where this growing movement demanding action for every child to have an education must be heard.

"Today showed a that this movement of people is growing. Last week we saw youth rising in Kenya, with 8500 signatures secured from across Kibera. Thousands of people are standing up and it's growing daily."

Here is a flavour of the Oslo event on Twitter:

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