By Tisa Banda, Communications, Zambia.
“Our future is uncertain as most of us have been robbed of our childhood through bad vices among them child marriages, substance abuse, child labour and child sexual abuse. The recent case of a 5-year-old child raped in Kasaka makes all of us children afraid and sad as it shows how much we need to be protected and safeguarded.
These were the words of 14-year-old Pascal in a speech read during the Lusaka Province World Children’s Day commemoration at Malundu Primary School in Kafue district.
Pascal called on government and civil society organizations, especially those that child- focused organizations like World Vision, to collectively take measures to protect their childhood.
“As children, we want to enjoy our childhood. We want to be nurtured and allowed to grow into adulthood at the right time. You, our parents, guardians, and duty bearers need to assure this by ensuring that we are provided with a safe environment both at home and at school. It is your task as duty bearers to ensure we have access to all the amenities that we need as we rightfully deserve them," he said.
At the same occasion, children read out a call of action that includes the need for community sensitization on children’s rights and for government to start feeding programs in programmes to keep more children in school, and to provide enough learning materials to schools.
World Vision Zambia Child Protection Technical Programme Manager, Margaret Phiri, said World reiterated World Vision’s commitment to being champions and advocates for ending all forms of discrimination and stigmatisation against children.
“I want to urge you all to join forces, as we commemorate this day, in ensuring that children are protected from all forms of violence, all forms of abuse, neglect, and exploitation, including the elimination of all forms of harmful practices," said Ms. Phiri. "To you, our dear children, I would like you to know that as a child-focused organisation, World Vision will work with the government to provide a safe and enabling environment where rights and responsibilities are realised. Children, take interest in knowing your rights and being agents of change at home, in the community and at school."
And Kafue District Commissioner, Morris Hikapulwe, said this year’s World Children’s Day theme of “Renewing our promise for Children’s Rights” is a reminder for the world to reflect on the boundless potential that resides in a child.
“Children are the architects of tomorrow, and it is our responsibility to provide them with a nurturing environment where they can learn, grow, and dream. As we commemorate this day, let us renew our pledge to advocate for their rights, ensuring access to quality education, health care and protection from harm," he said.
World Children's Day is celebrated on November 20th each year. It marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. The CRC is an international treaty that outlines the rights and well-being of children, emphasizing their right to survival, development, protection, and participation.
World Children's Day is a day dedicated to promoting and celebrating children's rights globally. It aims to raise awareness about the challenges that children face around the world and advocate for their well-being. Various events, activities, and initiatives take place on this day to highlight the importance of ensuring that all children have access to education, healthcare, protection, and the opportunity to reach their full potential.