Today June 16th is celebrated as “The Day of the African Child”. This day was first initiated in 1991, by the Organization of African Unity to honor those who participated in the Soweto Uprising on June 16th 1976.Since 1991, governments, NGOs, international Organization’s and other stakeholders gather every 16th day of June to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the full realization of the rights of children Africa.This year, the Day of the African Child is being observed under the theme “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights”.
I am taking a moment today to reflect on the situation of some of the children in conflict zones of Africa. Some countries on the African continent have unfortunately been victims to conflict situations in recent years. These include; DR Congo, Nigeria, Mali, Egypt, Libya and Northern Cameroons. I am thinking about the Vulnerability of Children in these conflict zones and imagine the kinds of challenges that they face. These Children have faced terrible situations including; early and forceful child marriages, attacks on their schools by military, rape, malnutrition, Homelessness, and trauma. Some of these children have been deprived the love of their parents and family and the right to enjoy a decent childhood.
When I was a child, I had a very comfortable environment. I grew physically and psychologically healthy and I loved to go to school. My parents where there for me and supported me through out my childhood. I couldn’t imagine life without them or my siblings,that is priviledge.This children inconflict zones did not decide to be born in these areas,they had no choice,no power to change anything and this is not their fault. I had very little power to change anything as a child despite that I was a very confident and daring child.Many times,i wanted it my way,but i could not alwasy have it my way.This was frustrating at some points and I can only imagine what children who are have no power at all to control a terrible situation feel.Most of them have been deprived of their childhood by conflict are really vulnerable, given that more people are focusing on resolving conflict or in sighting more conflict than on protecting children
Most of these children do not have the power to change their situation; otherwise they would choose options which guarantee their safety and well being. I am taking today to reflect on the situation of African children in conflict, but also to turn the light on possibilities for a better situation for them. We need to join forces and take action to protect African children in conflict situation. We must turn our backs on choices and practices that put countries in conflict and children in vulnerable situation. What are your suggestions?What can we do to guarantee the protection and preservation of life and well-being of the African children who find themselves in conflict situation by no fault of theirs?
I look forward to your suggestions