Today, Rwanda will join the rest of the world to mark the 25th International Day of the African Child (DAC) under the theme “Quality Education is a stable foundation for a bright future of the child.”
This year, the DAC is also marked in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) “World Day against Child Labour” which falls on June 12 annually.
The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion in collaboration with Ministry of Public Service and Labour, National Commission for Children (NCC) and other stakeholders organised the two events in Gikoba Village, Shonga Cell, and Tabagwe Sector in Nyagatare District.
The First Lady Jeannette Kagame is expected to be the guest speaker at today’s ceremony.
According to officials at the National Council for Children (NCC), they are focusing on quality education because it is an essential element for the development of the country.
And although school enrolment has improved in the past 21 years, cases of school dropouts in the recent past put the issue high on the agenda of the recent government leadership retreat.
“This year’s theme is timely as it comes at a time when the government has heightened its struggle to prevent school dropouts. Also, considering the remarkable lapse by parents in caring for their children, it is now time to remind them of their commitment and responsibilities of taking care of their children,” a concept note says.
DAC is also to be used to re-affirm the central role of the family in promoting social integration and a healthy society.
It will also be an occasion to raise public awareness on issues affecting children such as dropping out of school, malnutrition, child labour, gender based violence, child trafficking, among others.
Activities today will include renovation and provision of equipment to a school, screening children for dental and cardiovascular diseases, donating cows to vulnerable families and giving more than 200 needy children scholastic materials, among others.
There will also be the awarding of the best performer of Umugoroba w’ababyeyi in each cell within Tabagwe sector, initiation of Early Childhood Development programme in Tabagwe sector, encouraging and supporting the feeding programme for needy children and an open dialogue with the public on key issues affecting children, including child labour, street children, malnutrition, school dropout, and teenage pregnancy among others.
Earlier in the week, DAC was also celebrated at the Kigali Public Library, where various schools engaged in among other things, poetry and discussions. The event, according to officials, focused on literacy, learning and storytelling activities in addition to learning playfully through storytelling and digital games.
Marked annually on June 16 since 1991, the Day of the African Child was first initiated by the Organisation of African Unity [now African Union).
It commemorates those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day.
It also serves as an occasion to raise awareness about the need for improvement of the education provided to African children.
About ten thousand black school children marched more than half a mile, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language in Soweto, South Africa, on June 16, 1976.
Hundreds of young students in protest were shot while more than a hundred people were killed in the following weeks of protests, with more than a thousand injured.Follow https://twitter.com/KaremeraDean