Africa celebrates the day of the African Child under the theme “30 years after the adoption of the charter to accelerate the implementation of agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children “.
Primary students going to school. Generally, statistics show that the number of students’ dropout are escalating. Photograph: Francis Byaruhanga/The New Times
The day of the African child traces its roots to the 1976 uprisings In Soweto, South Africa. This came to pass when Students from numerous Sowetan schools began to protest in the streets of Soweto in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. It is estimated that 20,000students took part in the protest. They were met with fierce police brutality and many were shot and killed on the 16th of June 1976.
This brought attention to the Organisation of the African Unity (AOU) which after introduced day of the African child in memory of the 16thJune 1976 uprisings in Soweto, South Africa in 1991 by the assembly of Head of States and the Government. Since then, the OAU and its heir apparent the African Union (AU), have used the Day of the African Child (DAC) to call to mind these children to honour children in Africa as well as inspire a sensible thinking and measures towards Labellingthe excess of children across in Africa on a daily basis.
The day is celebrated every year June 16th, recognized and accepted by the committee after consultations with the children organized by partners organisations, the themes are established for celebration.
The government of Rwanda, UNICEF and other Partners launched ParentingMonth Campaign to foster positive parenting amid Covid-19 from 1st June 2021. In Rwanda, the parenting month-long campaign coincided with the celebration of Day of African Child (DAC 2021) which is usually remarked on the 16th June.
This year’s theme is” Isibo, as a pivot to the Child Development “tomotivate mirroring within Isibo residents towards their part and duties in child development and shielding, with a focal point on averting and removing all forms of child malnutrition, while advancing child’s growth within the households.
Rwanda First Lady, Mrs Jeanette Kagame to this day said “this year Rwanda sets a goal to increase its effort in highlighting the role of Isibo in support of the child development programs. Parents, Partners, GovernmentEmployees and Private sector, let’s continue to participate in this program that will help every child receive quality in education, care and a safe life”.
By the goal being so clearly set, including the provision of quality education, it brings back the issues of children school dropout in such a big number and now it is a challenge to community.
With the education being accessed by every child, why is a Rwandan child still dropping out of school?
The Rwandan child drops out of school for different reasons and the major one being domestic problems mostly domestic violence due to drug abuse that leads to poverty that shifts parents’responsibility from the child, parents become careless, not minding whether their childrenare in school or not.At that tender age,children do not understand the value of education so at the end they drop out.
There is Rwandan saying “Umwananiuw’umuryango” (a Child is for community)”but currently it has changed due to misunderstanding of Child’s right; this leadsthe community, parents and children themselves to become careless. Thisaffectsteen girls more, whereby, people who are supposed to take care of them are the onesimpregnating them and this quickly stopsthem from going to school. This has far reaching consequences:
These problems escalate to children making them victims, failing to copeup with the situation at home and living in mind your business environment with saying “this is not my child”makes them to resort to drugs as self-cure, therefore, leading to addictions and are exposed to all sorts of substances as well as sexual activities which lower their capacity of thinking, robbing them their life purpose, wasted talents, ambitions, dreams and gifts and health risks including chances of contracting sexual diseases especially HIV/AIDS and having mental disorder leading to premature deaths. These affect the human resource of the entire nation
For any society to grow and develop into a strong socio-economic power, a foundation stone of Purpose, Positive and Addiction free values is paramount in the process. All are very essential because they stretch the human body and mind to reach its set targets as they create optimism which comes with the believe of doing things. When this is planted into young generation as society, we shall harvest plenty.
That’s why this year’s theme targets Isibo to remind the community about their responsibility towards children’s development. A society is called to work together towards those issues, this will reduce the rate of children school drop-outs whose numbers are mind-blowing.
Together we can build a better future, “an educated child, a better Rwanda built on “Purposeful, Positive and Addiction free Generation”