On June 16th, the world celebrated The Day of the African Child to commemorate student uprisings in Soweto, South Africa in 1976. Demanding a better quality of education, thousands of black school children took to the streets in protest. Hundreds of children were shot and more than 100 people were killed. This day honors the memory of those killed and the courage of those who protested. It supports the important role that children have to play in fighting injustice and bringing about change.
The theme of this year’s Day of the African Child is violence against children. Children across the world face violence everyday that challenges their physical, psychological and emotional growth, the implications of which are far worse in conflict situations such as northern Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On a continent where thousands of children die everyday from violence, disease and malnutrition, greater focus must be placed on securing and nourishing the needs of children in Africa, particularly in conflict situations and areas severly affected by poverty and disease. We must work together with the children and parents of Africa to reduce and prevent the violence that children all too often face.