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A 13-year old Filipino boy who goes by the name Kesz is this year's winner of the International Children's Peace Prize.
The former street kid transformed his life and is helping other children do the same.

Washing our hands, brushing our teeth, and taking a bath. Some of the most basic things we do to keep ourselves clean. But what might be second
nature to most of us may not be for kids who hardly even have access to clean water. No one knows this better than 13-year old Kesz.

Kesz used to be one of the kids scavenging on this dump site. When he was five, he fell into a heap of burning garbage. It was a tragic consequence of his young, desperate life, but one that would turn out to be the most important turning point in his life.

Kesz, winner of 2012 Int'l Children's Peace Prize, said, "These scars may be a reminder of my past but they also motivate me to do better. They remind me that there's always hope in life."

It was during those trying times that he met Harnin Manalaysay, a street educator who would later become his mentor and guardian.

Kesz said, "I got out of the dumps because someone helped me. So I feel like I have to pay it forward."

So at the age of 8, he formed the group C3 or Championing Community Children. And together with kids his own age, he teaches other kids who are also mostly his own age about their rights and about the importance of proper hygiene - an advocacy that won him this year's International Children's Peace Prize.

Kesz said, "6,000 children die from diseases associated with poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and we can do something about it."

Hard to imagine a simpler way of being able to make a difference than by teaching children how to properly wash their hands and brush their teeth. But more than his work, what's made Kesz a true hero is his ability to inspire and give hope even to those who've given up on their future.


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