Today is the Day of the African Child.
This day is celebrated annually on 16th June, in honour of the 20,000 innocent school children killed in Soweto, South Africa in 1976, after demanding to be taught in their own languages and campaigning for the right to better education. This day is a day where people all around the world come together and stand up for child rights in general and in particular the rights of the African child.
At Kids Club Kampala we are passionate about upholding the rights of the child through advocacy, through teaching children about their rights and through supporting their basic needs. Although we are having a big impact, sadly there are still thousands of children across Africa who do not have access to education, adequate healthcare, shelter, enough food, a place to play, to a loving family, and so much more.
As a child growing up in the UK, I think I took so much I had (and still have) for granted. It is only now, after spending many years in the slums of Kampala that I realize how privileged I was to have been born in the UK and as a result of that to have had the many opportunities I experienced.
The shocking truth is that if I had been born in Uganda I would have probably, along with my mother, died in child birth. If not, I would not be able to walk today as my family would not have been able to afford the medical care needed for numerous operations on my legs. Furthermore, I would probably have not been able to go to school and get the good education that I now have, making me literate and thus able to write this post and advocate on behalf of the numerous children in Africa who have been denied their rights and have limited opportunities.
As I reflect on this, I feel truly blessed and grateful to have been brought up in a loving family and in a country with good social services, freedom of speech and access to limitless opportunities. I feel deeply saddened thinking about the numbers of children living in the world today whose lives are so different to mine, simply due to the fact that they were born in a different place.
So today I am calling upon you to take some time to think about this, maybe thank God for all the opportunities and blessings that you have in your life, and to pray for all the children in the world who don’t have this. We at Kids Club Kampala are working in a small way to try to make a difference in the world, and to try to make the world a more equal place. If you would like to join us, please get in touch. We would love people to become advocates for child rights on these children’s behalf and to raise awareness about their situations. We would also love friends and supporters to donate and to help us fundraise to provide these children with their basic needs, to sponsor children go to school and get a good education and to help women gain sustainable income for their families.
Olivia Barker for Kids Club Kampala