Today is the International Day of the African Child. The day is celebrated on June 16 every year to commemorate the students’ uprising in Soweto, South Africa in 1976, when over 10,000 black students from Soweto marched in protest of the poor quality of their education. The protest march also sought to show discontent over the Black Education Act, which segregated students based on their race.
During two weeks of protests dubbed the ‘Soweto Uprising’, more than 100 students were killed and thousands more injured.
The day was initiated by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU – now African Union) in 1991. The theme for this year’s celebration is; Leave No Child Behind For Africa’s Development.
In Rwanda, the day will be marked with a ‘Consolation Walk’ organised by The Root Foundation, a local charity organisation based in Kigali that supports underprivileged children.
Patrick Kiruhura, the director of The Root Foundation, said the walk will start from Gakinjiro to Kagugu and wind up at the foundation’s centre in Batsinda. It kicks off at 9am and ends at 2pm.
After the walk, the children at the centre will hold a presentation and performances to entertain guests.
“We expect about 400 children at the event, and we invite students, friends and family to join us for this noble cause of raising awareness about the plight of vulnerable children. The public is invited to bring whatever they’d like to share with the children like food, drinks, toys, and clothes,” Kiruhura explained.
In Rwanda, ‘Day of the African Child’ provides an occasion for relevant government institutions, international institutions and NGOs to renew their on-going commitments of raising awareness on issues affecting children in general and particularly vulnerable children,” reads a statement on the website of the National Council For Children (NCC).