Day of African Child is an annual event observed every 16th day of June on the continent and around the world honoring the memories of students massacred in the 1976 Soweto Uprising in South Africa during apartheid for protesting against injustices in education system and inequalities at the time.
It was designated as Day of the African Child in 1991 by the African Union to further emphasize protection of the rights of children; it is a day for all those who care to reflect on children in their various situations.
The Day of the African Child (DAC) 2016 will be observed under the theme “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all children’s rights”
Elizabeth Amongin, a Child Protection Officer at CRO Uganda explains that children in conflict and crises go through a lot of injustices that range from abductions, child/forced marriages, sexual abuse, trauma, deprivation in terms of education and other social services including health especially when it comes to places like refugee camps where most times the conditions are very deplorable.
In such situations also prevails moral decadence where survival for the fittest is practiced. But even this becomes complicated if there are no systems in place to address such eventualities.
Children in such situations have gone through multiple losses, some beyond imaginable limits and conflicts are still on-going in Africa. These children most times do not value life and are hopeless because what they see is aggression, hate and revenge which is not a good environment for child development.
This calls for us to unite against conflicts and address their root causes which usually revolve around inequality, marginalization and exclusion. Whereas governments have enacted policies on child rights, there is necessity to support them with robust programmes to address needs of vulnerable children who are the most affected.
Such services include counseling- to handle the psychological aspect because children go through trauma as a result of what they have seen and gone through, lost identity to name but a few. Education and health services should be a must because the ultimate goal here is to preserve life.
Child Restoration Outreach (CRO) works with marginalized children (street children) enabling them access rehabilitation, education and finally transform their lives into productive persons in society.