SIERRA LEONE AND THE DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD (DAC)
Many decades ago, on 16 June 1976 hundreds of black students in Soweto, South Africa were massacred whilst protesting against inadequate education, injustice, inequality and discrimination they faced in the apartheid system.
In 1991, the Organization for African Unity (OAU) designated 16 June, as the day to commemorate and honour the students who lost their lives. They named it, “Day of the African Child” (DAC).
This year for its 28th anniversary the commemoration theme is: ‘Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights first.
In addition to remembering and celebrating children day remembers and It also strives to fight for the Rights of African children in difficult situations. In Sierra Leone, its disabled, AIDs and Ebola orphans, street and other deprived children. This day also reminds African leaders and policy influencers to address Child Rights violations. These include child marriage, teenage pregnancy, child trafficking and labour.
All are encouraged to renew and keep commitments and to protect the rights and privileges of children.
Serra Leone also joins in the DAC celebrations every year.
However, more work needs to be done. Child labour needs to be tackled as working children and teenage mothers are excluded. Child Rights are still violated.
Child rights are universal but not every child in Sierra Leone can celebrate the day of the African child. Free education needs to be more inclusive and then we shall be much closer so having a joyous celebration for all our children.
*Together we can see a better future *
©Inyillah Borteh Conteh