June 16th is the Day of the African Child. It was first established by the Organization of the African Unity in 1991. The day aims at raising awareness for the situation of children in African soil, and on the need for continuous improvement in education. It encourages people’s spirit to share what they have with a child in Africa.
In this year’s event, for Lushoto district was held at Sunga Mtae in Lushoto district around the compounds of Upendo Agricultural secondary school. The Youth Peace Makers Tanzania participated in the celebration of the Day of African Child, which commenced with a motorcade at district commissioner office in Lushoto. The ridding to the area of the event took place around 9 a.m.
The event was attended by the District commissioner hon. January Lugangika who was the guest of honor, Mrs Ikupa Mwasyoge the Lushoto District Executive Director (DED), Mr Mahanyu General Secretary of CCM in Lushoto district, Mrs Joyce Israel, the Development, gender and Child officer in Lushoto district, Mrs Doris, the Director of Legal Vision Organization, HE for SHE Club from IJA Lushoto, Lushoto OCD representative and a few others.
Speaking on behalf of children across the district and country at large, Mrs Joyce thanked the government for implementing Early Childhood Education, giving access to education for children with disability. Furthermore, the officer appreciated the work of Youth Peace Makers Tanzania in promoting and defending the child’s right through its different programs.
Different groups of children were given a chance to sing songs, poem and performing drama. All of these expressed the challenges that African child faces. Furthermore, songs, drama and poem showed that society is still violent and thus abuse children’s rights. It was learnt that parents do not care much about the rights of their children and thus allowing forced and early marriage; that was aired by children through their performances and songs.
There were also speeches from District Commissioner (DC), District Executive Director (DED), development, gender and child officer as well as CCM party representatives. The content of these speeches focused on the rights of the child and how these rights can be protected. But also they highlighted issues like early marriage, child labour and how children are treated in families and the communities. There was no doubt that civil societies have made a great contribution in advocating and protecting the rights of the child through raising awareness and educating the society.
Generally, too much emphasis was put on educating African child. And therefore, a request was sent to the government to enforce the laws in place and other policies in favour of children’s education but also civil society and other individuals who are advocating for child’s rights should fasten their shoelace to protect and defend the right of a child in Africa.