Archbishop Desmond Tutu awarded survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting the International Children’s Peace Prize on Tuesday for organizing a student movement against gun violence.

The retired South African cleric called the March for Our Lives movement one of the most significant youth-led movements in decades, The Associated Press reported

He praised the founders as “true change-makers” during a ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa.


"I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can — no, must — improve their own futures," Tutu said.

David Hogg, Emma González, Ryan Deitsch and Jaclyn Corin and dozens of their classmates organized the anti-gun violence movement after 17 people were killed inside their school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Feb. 14.

Matt Deitsch, who had graduated but still had younger siblings attending the school, left college to help build the organization, AP noted. 

The group held a rally for gun control in Washington, D.C., in March that garnered roughly 200,000 attendees.

Marc Dullaert, founder of KidsRights and the International Children's Peace Prize, said the students "transformed a local community protest into a truly global youth-led and peaceful protest-movement."

The students, many of whom graduated in the spring, have since become outspoken gun control activists. They also encouraged thousands of people to register to vote before this month's midterm elections.

Hogg, González, Corin and the Deitsch brothers traveled to South Africa to accept the award.