The Day of the African Child
On the 16th of June 2014, help2kids was invited by Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots to attend their annual Day of the African Child event in Dar es Salaam. help2kids students from Wamato Primary School and the children’s home attended the event where they learned about children’s rights and a child’s right to education in Africa. The day was spent learning about one’s rights, dancing, drinking sodas, and eating cake with friends under the shade of a tree.
The Day of the African Child is an international day that is spent honouring the fallen African heroes that died in the 1976 Soweto Uprising in South Africa. Tens of thousands of African school children marched through Soweto on the 16th of June, 1976 protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding the right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young students were shot and killed when Apartheid government police open fire into the crowd of youth that was a mile long. Fifteen years later, the Organization of African Unity established the day as the Day of the African Child to raise awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children. In addition to this, the 16th of June was declared a national holiday (Youth Day) in South Africa after South Africa had its first democratic election in 1994.
The theme of this year’s Day of the African Child returned to the roots of the initiative by focusing on ‘A child-friendly, quality, free, and compulsory education for all children in Africa’. This theme resonates the objectives, values and mission of help2kids, especially with its educational objectives at Wamato Primary School, Kunduchi Nursery School and Lifuwu Primary School and Nursery School. help2kids believes in the power of education to lift children out of poverty and give them a chance to participate in society to their full potential so they can create their own futures and live a better life.
Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots hosted the event for the Day of the African Child on The 16th of June in Dar es Salaam. Roots and Shoots is a youth-led community action and learning programme run by the Jane Goodall Institute that places the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people. help2kids Tanzania chose to bring the top ten students in Standard 6 and 5 from Wamato Primary School as representatives to the Roots and Shoots event as well as ten children from the Children’s Home. The day started with all the children from the different schools around Dar es Salaam lining up and introducing their schools and where they were from to the other schools. Proceedings then moved onto the celebrity youth presenter who engaged with the crowd of young school leaders on their rights as a child, their rights to education and their rights to a loving, caring and supportive upbringing. Children from the crowd were also given the opportunity by the presenter to voice their opinions on the subject matter as well as announce their words of pride in being a child of Africa.
Just before lunch, children were allowed to compete in a dance-off in which everyone was whistle and cheering the competitors as they showed off their dances moves. Out of the many competitors, two dancers were chosen by vote and an epic dance off between a young girl with the most beautiful African moves and a young boy with “swagger” competed against each other. In the end the girl won and she was given a prize. Lunch was served straight after this. The Roots and Shoots team provided the crowd of engaged students with a soda, lunch and a piece of the African Child cake. The help2kids and Wamato children were spotted leaving the food table with their goodies and sharing their lunch and sodas between each other under the shade of a very large and magnificent tree.
After lunch, there was prizing-giving for a range of competitions that led up to the day such as the best child’s rights essay by a pupil, the best environment essay and the best community engagement project by a school. This led to the Roots and Shoots team also handing out toothbrushes and toothpaste to every child at the event as well as soap. Roots and Shoots donated two boxes of soap and tooth bushes to help2kids. This was much appreciated!
After an exciting and eventful day, it was time to go home before the setting sun disappeared. So the children of Wamato Primary School and the children’s home were gathered up from the basketball courts and put into the help2kids bus and taken home. While sitting in traffic the help2kids bus was booming with children singing and talking about the day’s event while they drank the sodas that they had collected during the day.
In remembrance of such a day, help2kids remains committed to the theme of the Day of the African child and ensuring that vulnerable children in Malawi and Tanzania are given the opportunity to beat poverty and excel through the organization’s educational projects, education sponsorships and its caring and supportive environment at its children’s home and the primary school.