Filipina teener Trisha Reyes wins UN Painting Competition

One in four million. That was the odds that 13-year-old Trisha Co Reyes beat when she claimed the top prize for this year’s International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment organized by Bayer and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Trisha’s painting showed a girl opening a curtain with pictures of felled trees and dead animals against a sad, polluted landscape. Outside, the scenery was anything but it showed a variety of animals and plants in living color. According to her, she wanted to show both sides of the “Life in the Forests,” this year’s theme. She got inspired while walking through the forests in the Philippines and wanted to show through her painting how forests are being threatened by environmental destruction and how beautiful they can be if people just take care of them. “Forests are essential… we need to value the biological treasures that our Earth possesses so that we will still have forests in the future,” she said.

Reyes was awarded recently at the Tunza International Children and Youth Conference on the Environment in Bandung, Indonesia along with other regional winners from all over the world. She received a certificate, trophy and $2,000 cash. The regional winners were Marylène Schröder, 13 from Leer in Lower Saxony for Europe; Erina Hashimoto, 14 of Japan for Asia-Pacific region; Prerika Chawla, 13 of the United States for North America, Lara García, 9 of Argentina for Latin America and Caribbean region; Monica Adhiambo Arego, 14 of Kenya for Africa; and Alya Al Kaabi, 14 of the United Arab Emirates for West Asia region.
The four million entries came from children, six to 14 years old in 99 countries. It is the largest number of entries that the competition has received so far since it started in 1991. The theme for the 2012 competition is “Green Communities.”

Achim Steiner, Vice General Secretary of the United Nations and UNEP Executive Director lauded the children’s works and said that “Responsible young people are the United Nations’ most valuable asset… The talent and inspiring pictures of children from all over the world have caused millions of people over the years… to stop and wonder, think again and act.”

(Story courtesy of Amyline Quien Ching of Manila Bulletin)

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