Cris “Kesz”
Valdez

Cris “Kesz” Valdez is a young Filipino humanitarian who overcame physical abuse and life scavenging a dump when he was taken into care and mentored by fellow human rights worker Harnin Manalaysay at the age of four. Together Valdez and Manalaysay founded the organization Championing Community Children, known as C3. C3 has helped over 10,000 children across the Philippines by providing them with “Gifts of Hope” such as footwear, toys and school supplies along with educating street children on hygiene, health and rights, all in an effort to empower them and transform their lives. In 2012 at the age of thirteen, Valdez was presented the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu. Kesz became the first Southeast Asian and youngest recipient of the award which also comes with 100,000 Euro payday. Valdez promptly put the money towards his various humanitarian projects and is looking forward to the prospect of completing his education. He hopes one day to realize his dream of becoming a doctor and continuing spread his motto that “we can change the world one heart at a time.”

 

Illustration by Hanjoon Kim

Philippines

Weaving is the long historical art form in Philippines. Filipinos have woven their clothes, baskets, hats, and rugs with vibrant colors and geometric patterns. This portrait of Kesz Valdez is made by paper weaving which is similar technique with their traditional weaving. Background colors are royal blue and scarlet, which are the same colors as their flag. In their flag, blue stripe means “peace” and the red stripe means “valor”. Peace and valor are the best words, which represent Kesz Valdez.

Total Area
300,000 km2 (72nd)

Demonym
Filipino

Government
Unitary presidential constitutional republic

Population
100,981,437

Capital
Manila

GDP (PPP)
$8,223