Day of the African Child, celebrated on June 16, was initiated by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to honour those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976. On this day thousands of young black school children marched in protest of the poor quality of education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. The protest was responded to with violence that killed over 176 protesters an aftermath or protests that led the way for the anti-apartheid struggle.
Vulnerable children are often seen as main recipients of policies and programmes, but no one is better placed to speak for their needs and wellbeing than children themselves. When children are empowered they have the potential to be true change makers.
The 2018 theme for Day of the African child is “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development.” RIATT-ESA encourages action to address child marriage by raising the voices of young survivors of Child Marriage.
In the mainstream media there is often a focus on young girls being married to older men. While this does happen, there are many young girls married to their boyfriends due to social and family pressures. This video blog (a modern form of protesting) by youth advocate Samartha Mwase, interviewed during at the RIATT-ESA sponsored Children and Youth Conference 2017, calls for community education to end child marriage in Malawi.