Marina Spyrou, 10

The incident that Marina describes eloquently in her essay happened last year on the island of Tinos, where she was holidaying with her parents. There they met Margarita, «a blonde thin girl with blue eyes» the same age as Marina, who writes: «With my pocket money, I offered her an ice cream from a nearby little shop. She had not had an ice cream for a long time she told me. She and her family were Serb farmers in Kosovo. They were living happily but then war came, and fear, and they had to leave their country and came to Greece. Then, she was 4 years old. Their life in Greece was miserable; they were very poor. Her father died because there was no money to go to a hospital, their mother was sick, and she and her brother were begging to live. She was not going to any school and often she was very hungry.» The incident came to Marina’s mind when she read Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, her father Giorgos Spyrou, a European Union employee, told Kathimerini. His daughter’s busy schedule at the European School in Brussels did not allow her time to talk to the paper herself. «Margarita’s life, freedom and security are in danger. Poverty can push people to crime,» writes Marina, recalling Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s «Les Miserables.» Marina will receive her award at her school on June 16.