By LEONARD D. POSTRADO - Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines — With a swish of a brush and splash of colour, 13-year-old Trisha Co Reyes paints her dream of a peaceful world on a white poster.
Who could be a better judge of what the word “peace” means than children like Reyes, whose entire childhood was spent in one of the ganglands of Manila.
In an artwork, Reyes etched her hope that children like her will grow up in a peaceful and loving community someday.
“In my painting, the hidden child is me. Exhibited are children from all over the world who have love, freedom, unity and peace,” Reyes said.
“We children can do our part by studying hard and planting trees to save and protect Mother Earth,” she added.
Reyes’ version of peace that she painted on canvas bested more than 350,000 paintings and bagged the grand prize in the 24th annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest.
Manila Centennial Lions Club president Dennis Go said Reyes' poster, was chosen from the 126 posters from 60 countries that made it to the international level of judging after being narrowed down at local levels.
Annually, Go said more than 350,000 entries are drawn by children ages 11 to 13.
Reyes’ winning poster was chosen for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of this year’s theme “Children Know Peace,” according to Go.
“We are so proud of Trisha winning the grand prize in this important contest. This contest helps the members of my club to support local youth and to encourage peace and understanding everywhere,” he said.
As the grand prize winner, Reyes will receive US$5,000 and a trip to a special awards ceremony at Lions Day with the United Nations in New York City. She will be accompanied by her mother, sister and the president of the Manila Centennial Lions Club, which sponsored the annual contest at her school, St. Stephen’s High School.
In addition to the grand prize winner, each of the 23 merit award winners will receive a certificate and US$500. This year’s merit award winning children live in Brazil, China, Colombia, England, Guam, Iceland, India, Japan, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Republic of South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States (Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire and North Carolina).
“Lions around the world believe in promoting peace and the importance of encouraging young people to think creatively,” said Lions Clubs International President Wing-Kun Tam.
The 24 finalists’ Peace Posters will be featured prominently at the 95th annual Lions Clubs International Convention in Busan, South Korea. Visit the Lions Clubs International Web site, www.lionsclubs.org, to view winning Peace Posters, learn more about the contest and send Peace Poster e-cards. Currently, Lions all around the world are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the contest by encouraging youth in their communities to express their feelings of peace.
Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest service club organization, is made up of 1.35 million men and women in 206 countries and geographical locations throughout the world. Lions created the Peace Poster Contest to foster a spirit of peace and international understanding in young people worldwide.