This week Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate the Day of the African Child.
This day was designated as such by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) – now African Union – in 1991 in honour of June 16 when children from Soweto were killed by the then South African apartheid regime.
The children had gone to the streets to demand the right to education which included better teaching facilities, better teaching environment and the right to be taught in their languages.
While it is right to commemorate this day, it is equally important that we use it to evaluate how far as a country we have gone in achieving some of those demands that those children from Soweto were killed for.
Literary guru Wole Soyinka once described a system which imparted an education without ethics and standard instruction as a wasted generation. This is because a defective basic education molds children into broken persons who are neither illiterate nor literate.
In Karamoja sub-region, for instance, there is an ethnic group, the Ik, which has been marginalized in all forms. They live a life below what is humanly-acceptable.
Their children don’t go to school and those who make an effort to attend classes have to endure long distances. And when they reach school, they are left to their own devices such as being taught by fellow pupils.
The Ik need to live like other children that enjoy the basic right to education. They need to access medical facilities like other Ugandans. They need to play. They need a decent shelter and nutritious meals. It is only through the provision of such services that the commemoration of the Day of the African Child would make sense to them.
In some parts of the country, children have been used as sacrificial objects, often kidnapped and surrendered to witchdoctors who kill them and cut off parts of their bodies in anticipation of miracles and success in business.
Uganda, Karamoja, Female Witch Doctor Or Amuron Using Sysal To Suck Out Evil From Child Affected By The Evil Eye. Karamojong Women Paint Their Faces With Clay To Prevent Disease.
On the other hand, many children have been withdrawn from school by their parents to look after cattle and others have been turned into child laborers. The country lacks remand homes for juvenile offenders and this has occasioned the locking up of children in the same prison cells as adult offenders.
Please help us fight poverty and illiteracy in Uganda. They need our help and without it, some people, such as those in Karamoja, risk perishing. They are not educated at all and they suffer from famine and drought. In Northern Uganda, there is poverty and land-grabbing as a result of the effects of a two-decade civil war fought against the North. These children don’t have access to the schools that are offered in other parts of Uganda, and education was impossible for them during their 20-year displacement in camps because of the attacks and childhood abductions by rebels & soldiers near their homes. Now they are trying to settle back in their homes and are struggling with land-grabbers and squatters.
We invite you to join us at Hope for Post-War Children of Northern Uganda by pledging a monthly sponsorship amount, or a one-time donation, to send a post-war child to school. They have their names on a list with Father Okun-Lagoro Matthew, eagerly awaiting news about funding so they can return to school! You can meet some of these kids and Father Okun-Lagoro Matthew by visiting https://educatewarchild.org/category/meet-the-children/.