Global Fund for Children has announced the winners of the 2021 Juliette Gimon Courage Awards, recognising the perseverance of three organisations working to advance the rights of children and young people living in difficult circumstances.
This year’s winners include Youth Safety Awareness Initiative in Nairobi and Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop in Washington, DC, which are being honoured for their work providing opportunities for youth who have been incarcerated and keeping young people out of jail.
For the first time, the Courage Award Selection Committee has also chosen a third winner, granting a monetary prize to an organisation that cannot be named publicly due to repression against civil society groups in its home country. This organisation has worked fearlessly to prevent violence against children and to promote their health and rights.
Although they work in different regions of the world, the two publicly named winners have both championed the arts and education as tools to empower young people in conflict with the law. They have also advocated for criminal justice reforms and supported young people who are directly impacted by incarceration as they lead efforts for change.
‘We’re pleased to recognize Youth Safety Awareness Initiative and Free Minds for their incredible work ensuring that children and youth impacted by incarceration have the tools they need to achieve their goals and create change in their communities,’ said John Hecklinger, President and CEO of Global Fund for Children. ‘These organizations share the brave and passionate spirit that made Juliette such an extraordinary advocate for children around the world.’
‘We’re saddened that we can’t publicly recognize the third winner because doing so could put the organization in danger,’ he added. ‘Unfortunately, closing civic spaces have negatively impacted the work of many grassroots organizations serving children and youth around the world.’
The 2021 Courage Award winners were selected from 17 finalists that have empowered children and youth to overcome tremendous obstacles, including homelessness, poverty, and a lack of access to quality education.