Kenyan girl takes first prize in International Letter-Writing Competition

Claire Gakii, 13, from Kenya has won first place in the Universal Postal Union’s 52nd International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People, ahead of 1.7 million entrants from 35 countries.

This year, children were asked to write a letter to someone explaining which superpowers they would need to achieve their mission of making roads safe for all children. The competition was organized in cooperation with the United Nations Road Safety Fund.

Claire received her prize in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, today, during the closing plenary of the UPU’s fourth Extraordinary Congress, and ahead of World Post Day.

Speaking at the ceremony, UPU Director General Masahiko Metoki said, “As many of our young writers highlighted, we cannot rely on supernatural powers to ensure safe roads… Claire’s superpowers are, in fact, actions that even regular people can take. She highlights that, by working together with children through training and education, community engagement and policymaking, we can achieve our critical collective mission.”

Describing her superpowers in her letter, Claire writes, “I will work hand in hand with road safety officers to train children on road usage and the purposes of pedestrian walkways; I will develop policies to protect children and ensure that they are properly displayed and implemented. […] I believe that if we all work together, we can make a difference in the lives of children and help to prevent accidents on the road.”

Second in the international competition was Matilde Magalhães Da Silva, 11, from Portugal, while 12-year-old Dao Khuong Duy from Viet Nam won third prize. Special mentions were awarded to young writers from Brazil, Cyprus, India, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

International jury panel

Submissions to the global round of the competition were judged by an international jury convened by the UPU. Jury members included:
  • Agostina Massarini, Communications Officer, International Road Federation;
  • Jon Cerezo Abeijon, Partnership and Public Information Officer, UN Economic Commission for Europe; and
  • Annie Hammenrudh, Programme Management Officer, UN Department for Safety and Security.
The theme of the 53rd International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People will be announced shortly.
Winning letters

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The Universal Postal Union is a UN specialized agency with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne. Established in 1874, it is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players and helps to ensure a truly universal network of modern postal products and services.
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