In the company of children, Filipino human trafficking warrior Cecilia Flores-Oebanda is a rock star.
“I was shocked by how the kids welcomed us. They were running toward us, cheering for us. It was really inspiring. They showed us that we were their heroes,” Oebanda said Wednesday by phone from Stockholm, narrating how she and fellow child rights advocates met with a group of children in the Swedish capital.
“Ang sarap-sarap ng feeling (I love the feeling). It’s really inspiring, energizing. It gives me more fire to fight,” she said.
The chair of the Visayan Forum Foundation, a multi-awarded nongovernment organization that fights human trafficking, is one of two winners of the World’s Children’s Honorary Award in the 2011 World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child.
She shares the award-a recognition accorded child rights advocates from around the world-with Monira Rahman of Bangladesh, who was cited for helping victims of acid attacks.
The top prize went to Murhabazi Namegabe, who has long worked for the release of child soldiers and sex slaves in his native Democratic Republic of Congo.
The three will receive their awards from Queen Silvia of Sweden in a ceremony in Stockholm on Thursday. They will share a cash prize of $100,000.