"Hope For Children" CRC Policy Center held the award ceremony of young Nicholas Nikiforou in a joyful and emotional atmosphere, rewarding him with the “Children’s Rights Defender Award 2019”. The ceremony took place at the premises of the European Union House in Nicosia. The award was given by the Director-General of the Organization, Mr. Joseph Borghese and the President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Demetris Syllouris.
12-year-old Nikolas Nikiforou, a Cypriot resident of the UK, was born with rare type of pre-cancerous melanomas in his face, which despite its successful removal, left scars on his face. His scars had him face bullying and this urged him to launch a campaign against bullying. His actions led him become the face of Kinder in 2016, to win the Diana Award in 2017, the British Citizen Award and the "Positive Role Model" prize of the National Diversity Awards of the United Kingdom in 2018. In 2017 he was voted as one of the 24 most sensitized Bristolians under the age of 24. Nicholas’ actions include launching and promotion of anti-bullying campaign, featuring on TV and radio shows in the UK, participation and winning of regional art competitions and realization of motivational speeches in schools and universities in relation to combating bullying.
Mr. Ierotheos Papadopoulos, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus opened the ceremony with a short speech. Then, Ms. Andria Neocleous, Director of the Humanitarian Division of “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center, referred to the importance of Nicholas’ actions and to the necessity of having programs in schools for the empowerment and training of children aiming at combating bullying. In addition, she specifically said: “We are here because we want to be part of Nicholas journey; because we want to spread the example of Nicholas to as many people as possible”.
During his speech, young Nicholas mentioned that there is over 7 billion people in this world all different between them. Quoting that: “It is my belief that we all have something to give to the world. My vision has been for all individuals in society to be accepted for who they are. If we embrace each other’s differences, the world would be a better place.”
The Director-General of the Organization Mr. Borghese during the handing over of the award congratulated Nicholas for his outstanding work against bullying and encouraged him to continue transferring messages of courage, love and respect that he is promoting both through his speeches and his art.
Mr. Borghese has chosen to reward Nicholas Nikiforou with the “Children’s Rights Defender Award” aiming to officially recognize his action and spiritual strength in his efforts to promote children’s rights.
The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Education and Culture Mr. Costas Chambiaouris, the British High Commissioner in Cyprus Mr. Stephen Lillie, the Commissioner for the Protection of Children’s Rights Ms. Leda Koursoumba, the Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights Ms. Maria Stylianou Lottides, parliamentarians, representatives of Cyprus Police, representatives from political parties and of other stakeholders. Moreover, Hope For Children’s young Ambassadors and friends were present to honor young Nicholas’s achievements and actions.
Hope For Children thanked Nicholas and his family for accepting their invitation as well as everyone who contributed to the success of the ceremony and at the same time honored Nicholas with their presence. Finally, the Organization thanked TOP KINISIS agency for their support with the travel arrangements of Nicholas in Cyprus.
The “Children’s Rights Defender Award” is the highest form of reward that the Hope For Children gives to persons or entities that have promoted and continue to promote children’s rights to their community and the society in general. With this award the Organization is rewarding persons who engage into remarkable actions in the field of children’s rights.