Sadat Rahman, a 17-year old teenager from Narail, has won the International Children's Peace Prize 2020. The award by Netherlands-based KidsRights Foundation is given every year to a child involved in promotion of children's rights and protecting vulnerable children. The expert committee selected Sadat as the winner from 142 applicants from 42 countries.
Sadat was presented with the award today by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai during a ceremony in the Hague, the Netherlands. He was awarded the prize for his involvement in setting up a social organisation and mobile app "Cyber Teens" to stop cyberbullying and violence against children.
Last year, this award was won by climate activist Greta Thunberg. Malala Yousufzai herself is a previous winner of the prestigious prize.
Sadat beat two other finalists - 12-year old Ivanna Ortega Serret from Mexico, who fought water pollution, and 18-year-old Siena Castellon from Ireland, who created a website to help pupils with autism and severe learning disabilities.
A story about a 15-year old girl who took her own life after suffering from cyberbullying moved Sadat. Later, he formed his young team "Narail Volunteers" and created the anti-cyberbullying app "Cyber Teens" to give helpless teenagers a place to go for help. Cyber Teens bridges the gap created by the stigma of talking about cyberbullying and incompetence of local law enforcement authorities. Since October of last year, with the help of Narail Zilla Police, they have managed to resolve more than 60 complaints. Sadat is also a Joy Bangla Youth Award winner from 2018, a flagship initiative of Young Bangla.
Sadat has reached over 45,000 teenagers across Bangladesh by arranging seminars in schools and colleges. He created "Cyber Clubs" in every school in his local area, to teach the youth about digital literacy knowledge. He is currently working on a campaign called "Safe Internet, Safe Teenager". Sadat plans to use the prizemoney of a 100,000 Euro (USD 118,000) to further develop the app across Bangladesh and to serve as a model for the rest of the world.
Sadat wants to see a world where young people feel safe online. "I live in a remote area," Sadat told KidsRights, "I am a very ordinary boy. If I can save teenagers from cyberbullying, why can't others?"