By Peter Midwa
Our Africa, our children, indeed the motto that was declared during the day of the African child. Just as the name suggests, The Day of the African child is intentionally about the African child. If there is a continent where a child is challenged, it is in Africa, and therefore a day like this deliberately focuses on the child who is challenged by many things, especially HIV.
This wonderful initiative was planned to discuss with children in Kenya about issues relating to HIV and ways that the community can step in and protect children rights to education, health, and welfare. Distinguished guests included religious leaders and organization representatives, who met together with the kids who were in high spirit and really entertained the crowd with poems, plays and dances.
A round table discussion between the children and the guests took place to address specific key issues that need to be handled and need attention. So far as the children are proud of being African, they highlighted some of the challenges they face as Africans. Among them is the challenge of stigmatization for children living with HIV. The suggested solution was that religious leaders should go back to the church, the temple, or the mosque and get to know what the children want because many times children are punished for the wrong things when in fact society is on the wrong. Children were also encouraged to socialize and play with those affected by the virus, in order to improve the welfare of other children around them.
Sheikh Abdalla Kamwana, chair of INERELA Kenya, sent a very powerful message. He noted that among all God’s creation, the most important creation is human beings, adding that humans have been created in a very special way, and have been given a lot of intellect. He summed up the message by saying that the human creation starts with children, and for this reason, children must be treated with care and love. Therefore, with or without the virus, an African child is there to live a comfortable and esteemed life, and every child is entitled to a banana smile.
In celebration of the day of the African child, the distinguished guests also acknowledged that parents should take the responsibility and the role to train children at their homes because the foundation of the child begins with the family. In other words, to celebrate the African child, parents must first look at the way they behave around their children, and must see them as valuable.
A large percentage of children in Africa are subject to lack of education, lack of nutrition, and violence among other challenges, and so religious leaders asked the community to address the challenges that the children are facing, and strengthen their relationships and collaborations with the children to bear a lot of fruit and help save lives. Caregivers at the national and county level were urged to eliminate the stigmatization and discrimination of children living with or affected by HIV. “Enough is enough”, implied the children, “the virus has room no more.”
Peter is an Editor and Anchor with Mtoto News . He can be reached email@example.com
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