| The award-winning poster |
Guwahati/Imphal, Jan. 25: Eleven-year-old Raj Phairembem from Moirang in Manipur’s passion for drawing has won him recognition at an international poster drawing contest.
He will be awarded a plaque and $5,000 at the United Nations assembly in New York on March 18 for his endeavour at the peace poster contest organised worldwide by the Lions Clubs International Foundation every year.
Raj Phairembem is the eldestson of Yaistaul Singh, a former armyman and a resident of Moirang.
“We are very happy. Raj is a quiet child and whenever he gets free time he devotes it to drawing. We were informed about his achievement yesterday,” said Yaistaul.
Raj, a student of Class V at St Xavier’s School in Moirang, is thrilled.
“I started painting since I moved into the boarding house in Class II. My teachers encouraged me to go for painting and also to take part in competitions. I participated in several painting competitions and I won some awards,” Raj told The Telegraph.
The peace theme of the contest suited Raj just fine, given his peaceloving disposition. “I don’t want violence because it only brings suffering and miseries to people and those who suffer most are the poor and common folk. So in the poster I divided the world into two sections, one of violence and the other peace. My message through the drawing is peace ultimately triumphs. In Manipur, violence is a daily feature and that saddens me considerably. So I want to see peace defeating violence; this is what inspired me to draw the picture,” Raj said.
On how he plans to invest the prize money, Yaistaul said, “We will invest it for his higher education. Raj’s younger brother is studying in kindergarten and this will also help his education,” he said.
“The family is getting ready for the New York trip,” he said.
“The club organises the Lions International Peace Poster Contest in local schools around the world each year. During the past 20 years, more than four million children from nearly 100 countries have participated in the contest. Students in the age group of 11-13 are eligible for the contest,” said the district governor of Lions District 322D, Animesh Baruah.
Twenty-four international finalists are selected each year, representing the work of more than 400,000 participants.
“Posters are shared globally through the Internet and media and exhibited across the world. Each poster is judged on originality, artistic merit and expression of the theme,” said Baruah, adding, “Posters of the contestants are judged through several levels — local, district, multiple district and international. At the international level, judges from the field of art, education and media select one grand winner and 23 merit award winners.”
Raj Phairembam is the first to win the prize from India, said Baruah.
In earlier years, the Peace Poster Contest had been won by children from Brazil, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the United States, among others.