In Soweto, South Africa, on June 16, 1976, about ten thousand black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young students were shot, the most famous of which being Hector Pieterson. More than a hundred people were killed in the protests of the following two weeks, and more than a thousand were injured. To recognize the events, African Union initiated that the events be celebrated every year on June 16, since 1991, to honor those who took part in the protests. It also raises awareness of the continuing need to improve education provided to African children. Of the 57 million primary school age children currently out of school around the world, over half are from sub-Saharan Africa.
On June 16 every year, governments, NGOs, international organizations and other stakeholders gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the full realization of children’s rights in Africa. The theme for the Day of the African Child (DAC) 2021 is “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”.
The realization of the rights of children in Africa, particularly focusing on education calls for attention on inclusive education for children with disabilities, who are often disregarded when it comes to them accessing and acquiring education. Children with disabilities do not get to enjoy their right to education because of many reasons, ranging from inadequate schools, untrained teachers, ignorant parents who do not enroll their children and the general stigma and discrimination from the societies, but to mention a few. African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) state that “children with disabilities are generally hidden in Africa, and therefore their plight is often ignored and disregarded in national policies and legislation.”
Let us unite and ensure that children and youth with disabilities do not fall by the way side, use your voices to stand up for those who can’t, governments, stakeholders and communities let us leave no child behind.
“A LUTA CONTINUA”