NAMUTUMBA, UGANDA: The Day of the African Child is commemorated on 16th June every year since 1991 when it was first initiated by the Organization of African Union (OAU). The day honours those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976.
It’s believed that more than ten thousand black school children marched in a column protesting the poor quality of Education and demanding their rights to be taught in their own local languages.
Hundreds of young students were massacred, the famous being Hector Peterson and more than half were injured. It’s on that background that NGOs and other stakeholders gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the full realization of the rights of children in Africa. It’s also to observe and show respect to the past students who dedicate their lives to the community by helping students today reach their goals
For 2023, the theme chosen was, ” promoting and protecting children’s rights in the digital era”. A Child-friendly environment, and free compulsory education for all children in Africa as Nelson Mandela observed, that “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow”. For Africa, these words resonate with hope and more challenges than ever.
The Senior Probation and Welfare Officer, Mr Eric Joel Kasiko noted that while technology and time have changed since the establishment of the annual observance, too many African children still lack fundamental human rights.
“The Day of the African Child continues to raise awareness of continuing ills such as the recruitment of child soldiers and genital mutilation, food insecurities and widespread lack of schooling.”
He sighted that 1.9 million children enrol for primary one but only 800,000 go up to Primary leaving Examintionsa1. This year’s observance shines a light on a revolutionary factor in our ageing world.
While representing their views about the day of the African child, children talked about, corporal punishment, being excluded in decision-making in the community, forced labour, poor attitude of their parents to meet scholastic materials(mindsets), forced labour, defilement, lack of career guidance and lack of sanitary wears as some of the barriers still experienced today.
the Namutumba District RDC, Mr Matende Thomas urged children to stay focused and desist of all evil temptations and take all the advice given by their teachers seriously to abstain from sexual activities.
He noted that the day of the African child Called for serious introspection and commitment towards addressing numerous challenges and relevant stakeholders to gear their efforts towards that it is relevant seeing the epochal shift caused by the digital revolution.