Day of the African Child

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By Paidamoyo Chimhini

The Day of the African Child (DAC) is commemorated annually on the 16th of June in remembrance of the Soweto students’ upraising of 1976.

This year’s theme “Leave no child behind for Africa’s development” calls for inclusive development which prioritizes children and their participation in development initiatives.

Children in Africa are among the most vulnerable children in the world owing to the wide range of socio-economic challenges they face.

Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable because of their age and disability.

This vulnerability often denies these children their right to participate in decision making processes that affect them. In order to ensure that no child is left behind in Africa’s development, governments must promote the participation of children in the development and implementation of programmes and policies that affect them.

For children with disabilities, participation is often denied due to societal stigma and discrimination surrounding disability.

Low expectations of children with disabilities by families and communities fuel the idea that children with disabilities cannot make decisions.

Meaningful participation can only take place where the children concerned are well informed.

Children with disabilities have wrongly been regarded as unable to communicate and as such have not been reached with information that would enable them to form opinions and actively contribute in decision making.

Through the provision of Sign language and the use of simplified language, children with disabilities can enrich policy making and service provision by sharing their daily experiences and opinions of how well disability interventions cater to their needs Inclusive development in Africa must take into account the needs of children with disabilities.

Through the formulation of child and disability sensitive policies that leave no child behind, the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development can be achieved.

About DZT

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust was formed and registered as a trust in 2012 and began operations in 2013. Initially the organisation was formed to advance the rights of Deaf children.

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