The Deaf Bulletin 2015 Issue 5
International Day of the African Child.
The international Day of the African Child is commemorated annually on the 16th of June. The day aims to raise awareness on the situation of children in Africa. It also aims to continuously advocate for the rights of children in Africa paying particular attention to the right to education. This year’s celebration came at a time when Zimbabwean children are facing many challenges due to the current socioeconomic environment.
Recently the Prosecutor General of Zimbabwe Johannes Tomana came under fire for implying that 12 year olds who are not in school should be allowed to have sex and marry. Tomana was quoted in the media as having said “We’ve nine year olds, 12 year olds, 13 year olds who’re actual-ly not in school, who’re not doing anything for example. What are we saying to them? We say you can’t even do this [have sex], when the envi-ronment is not giving them alternative engagements? What are we talk-ing about?”
His assumptions that children who are not in school should be allowed to marry and have sex were met with wide criticism as they expose young girls to older men who want to take advantage of them. However, he did highlight some disturbing facts about children in Zimbabwe. Indeed, some children as young as 9 years old are not attending school because of various factors.
For many of these girls there is no money for them to go to school. A significant number of them have become vendors on our streets. It has also become quite common to see children who should be in school begging on the streets. Some have been forced into early marriages because these ensure better livelihoods for these children and their families.
Economic problems have robbed Zimbabwean children of their childhood forcing them into adult roles that they are neither physically nor psychologically prepared for. As a nation we have a crisis on our hands. Our children are gradually losing their innocence because the environment in which they are growing up no longer protects them and ensures their safety.
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child; it is the duty of every citizen to protect the children in our communities. Next time you see a child selling in the street or begging during the time they should be in school take a moment to ask them why they are there. Perhaps when we begin to understand the challenges they are facing, we will be in a better position to create an environment that is safe and accommodating to the needs of our children. Let’s allow children to be children.
For more Bulletins Visit http://deafzimbabwetrust.org/bulletins
Other topics covered in this bulletin are:
- Why is education important.
- Father’s Day.
- Let’s do justice to our environment.
- Personal Hygiene Tips