Newport schoolgirl in running for human rights prize

Aine pictured taking part in the Million Women Rise Rally in London's Oxford Street.
Aine pictured taking part in the Million Women Rise Rally in London's Oxford Street.

A Newport schoolgirl who wrote about a hard-hitting human rights issue is in the running for a prestigious journalistic award.

Aine Clarke, who turned 12 last month, is one of 10 finalists in her age group in line for Amnesty International’s Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year award.

Her entry will now be judged by a panel of editors, authors and industry professionals and if she makes it to the top three in her category she’ll be invited to a prestigious awards ceremony held at Amnesty International UK’s headquarters on May 9, where the winner will be announced.

The winner’s work will then be showcased at the organisation’s annual Media Awards in central London in front of an audience of over 400 of the nation’s top media figures.

More than 3000 children from all over the United Kingdom took part in the competition, which is being run by Amnesty International UK, the Guardian and the secondary school magazine SecEd.

Aine, a pupil at Newport Primary School, chose the subject of sexual harassment for her article, which she wrote at the age of 11.

Emily Drabble, contributing editor of Guardian Teacher Network, described the article as ‘straight from the heart’.

She said: “She obviously feels very strongly about the subject and has done some excellent research to find out more, uncovering a report on more than half of girls in the US also experiencing sexual harassment, and then taking the article into more severe sexism in the developing world.

“I was impressed that this writer didn’t just rant at her outrage but uncovered facts to back up her argument. It’s very stirring stuff.”

Aine’s mother, Sara Clarke, added: “I’m incredibly proud of Aine.

“She’s in the final 10 for this award, which means a great deal as she wasn’t a confident writer until relatively recently.

“She’s always been skilled at putting her point across, but she came late to reading and writing.”

Sara went on: “Aine carried a huge banner down Oxford Street and held it at the Million Women Rise rally.

“That took serious physical strength.

“She also led lots of chants with her equally loud friends – they didn’t even need the megaphone, in the end.

“Aine is an inspiration to me.

“She has a no-nonsense slant with her analyses, and the pure undiluted ideology only the young can really have.”