Rwanda marks the Day of the African Child today, with the main event set to be celebrated in Bugarama Sector in Rusizi District.
It will be marked under the theme, “Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for children in Africa by 2030.”
The Day of the African Child, marked on June 16 annually, honours the memories of students who were massacred in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976 for protesting against education injustice and inequality under the apartheid regime.
It was designated as Day of the African Child in 1991 by the African Union, making it an annual event with activities organised to promote children’s rights.
Ahead of today’s celebrations, officials from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and other leaders yesterday toured three orphanage centres in Rusizi District to assess their conditions.
Led by Minister Esperance Nyirasafari, the team, including lawmakers and district officials, visited Rusayo children centre where at least 100 orphans are accommodated in Gashonga Sector, at Centre des Handicapes de Saint Francois d’Assise with 183 disabled children in Mururu Sector, and Baho Neza Mwana centre in Gihundwe Sector, which host former street children.
The team assessed accommodation facilities, kitchens, classrooms and sanitation facilities.
The centres accommodate children whose parents died or abandoned them on the streets, children whose parents remain in DR Congo camps and returned in Rwanda alone, children with disabilities, among others.
Nyirasafari commended the centres for treating the children as their own. However, she asked them to integrate the children into families as recommended by the government in 2012.
The minister called on local leaders, families and centres to work closely so that the reintegration could be efficient and effective.
“No child should stay in orphanage. They should be integrated into their own families, friends, or those of good Samaritans,” Nyirasafari said.
“The Government will keep on supporting all children. No child should be denied opportunity. They are the future of the country,” she noted.
Besides the support inthe form of foodstuff given to Centre des Handicapes de Saint Francois d’Assise, the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion also donated wheelchairs, and glasses to the children with disabilities.