“A child-rights crisis” is what climate change activist Greta Thunberg is calling the COVID-19 pandemic, one that she’s personally fighting with a generous donation. After winning an award of $100,000 USD (approximately $139,238 CAD) on Earth Day, the teenager is giving the entire prize to UNICEF for a campaign that will support youth in need.
The Swedish environmental advocate, who recently recovered from illness — possibly a case of COVID-19— was honoured with the cash prize by Dutch foundation Human Act on April 22. It’s the first award of its kind, and the anti-poverty group hopes to present it annually, for the next decade, to “a passionate changemaker.”
Thunberg was motivated to donate her prize, by reports of the pandemic’s disproportionate severity on at-risk groups.
“It is always the poorest and most vulnerable people who will suffer the most from a crisis, whether it is the climate crisis or the [coronavirus] crisis,” she said in a video shared by UNICEF.
The teen notes that school closures can mean kids at risk are missing out on important things like food, water, hygiene access, and education. She also warned that the consequences for overwhelmed health-care systems may be deadly, as they may lead to “child deaths that could have been prevented.”
Thunberg’s UNICEF donation was matched by Human Act with money from the campaign going towards supplying children with clean water, essential resources and safety equipment, according to UNICEF’s website.
The young environmentalist has previously used prize money to send powerful messages about her cause: Thunberg turned down an activism award of approximately $71,000 from the Nordic Council.
“The climate movement doesn’t need any more prizes,” she wrote, in a statement read by proxy at the award ceremony, emphasizing that “what we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research.”
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