Sunday, June 16th is the Day of the African Child. This day draws attention to the issues facing African children and this year’s theme is “Eliminating Harmful Social and Cultural Practices Affecting Children: Our Collective Responsibility.”
Historically, June 16th, 1976 marked a sad day. Thousands of students had taken to the streets of Soweto, South Africa to protest their inferior education system and the fact that they were not being taught in their own language. Tragically, over a hundred children were shot and killed plus countless others were injured during the protest. Then in 1991, the Organization of African Unity began holding an annual celebration in honor of those killed and commemoration of the courage shown by the protesters.
In Tanzania, this year’s African Child Festival will be held at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam. The event is organized by the African Child Trust and expected to draw over 500 children from all over, including some orphanages. The all day festival is sure to be a fun with entertainment including comedy, dance and African dress shows, sing alongs and other exciting activities. Additionally, the children will have a chance to visit other kids in treatment for cancer, at the Muhimbili National Hospital. Unfortunately, many of these little patients have no one to care for them. “This festival aims at encouraging them and to also remind them that they are part of our society” according to Ailinda Sawe the Chairperson for African Child Trust (IPP Media).
What an important day to reflect upon the challenges facing the children in Africa. Here at Africa Bridge we are fortunate and humbled to be able to do our part to make a difference in some of their lives. And, we also feel extremely grateful to get to interact with so many amazing and special children in our work, that certainly calls for a celebration!