Swaziland commemorates children’s month & Day of the African Child

UNCT_SZ_Lobamba National High School students singing Viva DPM.Lobamba National High School students singing Viva DPM song. UNICEF Swaziland ©2017

 

Swaziland recognizes the month of June as children’s month.  The month provides an opportunity for children and stakeholders working on children’s issues to intensify advocacy on specific issues.

The day of the African Child (DAC) 2017 theme: For Every Child, Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunities set a strong tone for reflection at this year’s children’s month launch and commemoration of the Day of the African child which was held at Eqinisweni Primary School in the Shiselweni Region on the 16th of June. Eqinisweni primary school was identified as a good model of an inclusive school which has an enrolment of more than one thousand learners.

The commemoration of the DAC was attended by esteemed guests that included the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini, UNICEF Country Representative popularly known to children as Gogo Rachel Odede, the Region’s Regional Administrator Themba Masuku, Chiefs of various Chiefdoms in the region, senior government officials from various ministries, children and civil society partners.

In his remarks, the Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the significance of the theme. “Accelerated protection, renewed empowerment and access to equal opportunities to all our children, should be our collective focus today as we meet yet again to ponder and celebrate the day of the African children,” he said. He further noted the importance of reflecting on what the country is doing differently in the form of take home lessons and availability of our plans to produce protected, resilient, mature and talented children.

The DPM stated that various studies including the National Study on the Drivers of Violence 2016, have confirmed that the disintegration of the family structure due to the erosion of cultural norms is the major culprit that has manufactured the multitudes of socio economic ills that we face as a country today. Another latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report presents recorded registration figures for children under the age of 5 at 53%, leaving 47% or almost half the population unregistered.

“Thereby rendering our children bare and helpless in the face of eminent multiple risks. The denial of the right to registration, as a basic right of all children in line with article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and guaranteed and enforceable in law under the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2012, amounts to gross irresponsibility, negligence and insensitivity to those of us who have duty to protect our children,” said the DPM. 

Swaziland recognizes the month of June as children’s month.  The month provides an opportunity for children and stakeholders working on children’s issues to intensify advocacy on specific issues.

The day of the African Child (DAC) 2017 theme: For Every Child, Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunities set a strong tone for reflection at this year’s children’s month launch and commemoration of the Day of the African child which was held at Eqinisweni Primary School in the Shiselweni Region on the 16th of June. Eqinisweni primary school was identified as a good model of an inclusive school which has an enrolment of more than one thousand learners.

The commemoration of the DAC was attended by esteemed guests that included the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini, UNICEF Country Representative popularly known to children as Gogo Rachel Odede, the Region’s Regional Administrator Themba Masuku, Chiefs of various Chiefdoms in the region, senior government officials from various ministries, children and civil society partners.

In his remarks, the Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the significance of the theme. “Accelerated protection, renewed empowerment and access to equal opportunities to all our children, should be our collective focus today as we meet yet again to ponder and celebrate the day of the African children,” he said. He further noted the importance of reflecting on what the country is doing differently in the form of take home lessons and availability of our plans to produce protected, resilient, mature and talented children.

The DPM stated that various studies including the National Study on the Drivers of Violence 2016, have confirmed that the disintegration of the family structure due to the erosion of cultural norms is the major culprit that has manufactured the multitudes of socio economic ills that we face as a country today. Another latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report presents recorded registration figures for children under the age of 5 at 53%, leaving 47% or almost half the population unregistered.

“Thereby rendering our children bare and helpless in the face of eminent multiple risks. The denial of the right to registration, as a basic right of all children in line with article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and guaranteed and enforceable in law under the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2012, amounts to gross irresponsibility, negligence and insensitivity to those of us who have duty to protect our children,” said the DPM.

The DPM regrettably shared that the most affected children are those who are orphaned and vulnerable, as a result they lose out on opportunities. He proceeded to positively share that all marginalized groups should be protected from the evil of ignorance and that Parliament is invited to expedite the enactment of the persons with Disability Bill and the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Bill.

UNICEF Country Representative Rachel Odede spoke strongly against the discrimination of children living with disabilities and reaffirmed UNICEF’s commitment to continue working with the Government and all stakeholders in ensuring that no child is left behind as we protect, empower and provide equal opportunities for all children.

“We must do more and ensure that we address all the barriers that restrict children living with disabilities from actively and fully participating in appropriate early childhood, primary, secondary and higher education,” she said.

The UNICEF Representative highlighted issues of violence, exploitation and abuse that children living with disabilities endure. She stated that there needs to be serious action that eliminates discrimination and ensures genuine inclusion, action that enables children living with disabilities to enjoy a life full of dignity. Such action will enable equal opportunities and access to basic services and lastly action that promotes respect and recognizes the contribution of children with disabilities to society.

Speaking on behalf of children at the commemoration of the Day of the African Child, partially blind Veli Vilakati, a form 2 pupil of Evelyn Baring High, confidently and commandingly shared the issues that include discrimination, stigma and violence on children especially those with disabilities.

He appealed to parents who have children with disabilities to refrain from carrying the shame of having them as they are also a gift from God. He also begged for the child living with albinism not to be killed. Veli also emphasized that as Swazi children they want to be totally safe in the hands of teachers, even when they fail in class they should not be insulted but rather empowered with life skills.

The child representative also spoke of the issue of birth registration and shared that it affects mostly children who are orphaned and vulnerable. Veli also added that visually impaired children do not have text books and struggle with getting brail materials. Many children living with disabilities also struggle with mobility especially when accessing public transport, shops and even church. Veli implored the public to be sensitive and helpful to all children living with disabilities rather than discriminating and laughing at them when they encounter difficulties in the streets.

 

Swaziland recognizes the month of June as children’s month.  The month provides an opportunity for children and stakeholders working on children’s issues to intensify advocacy on specific issues.

The day of the African Child (DAC) 2017 theme: For Every Child, Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunities set a strong tone for reflection at this year’s children’s month launch and commemoration of the Day of the African child which was held at Eqinisweni Primary School in the Shiselweni Region on the 16th of June. Eqinisweni primary school was identified as a good model of an inclusive school which has an enrolment of more than one thousand learners.

The commemoration of the DAC was attended by esteemed guests that included the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini, UNICEF Country Representative popularly known to children as Gogo Rachel Odede, the Region’s Regional Administrator Themba Masuku, Chiefs of various Chiefdoms in the region, senior government officials from various ministries, children and civil society partners.

In his remarks, the Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the significance of the theme. “Accelerated protection, renewed empowerment and access to equal opportunities to all our children, should be our collective focus today as we meet yet again to ponder and celebrate the day of the African children,” he said. He further noted the importance of reflecting on what the country is doing differently in the form of take home lessons and availability of our plans to produce protected, resilient, mature and talented children.

The DPM stated that various studies including the National Study on the Drivers of Violence 2016, have confirmed that the disintegration of the family structure due to the erosion of cultural norms is the major culprit that has manufactured the multitudes of socio economic ills that we face as a country today. Another latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report presents recorded registration figures for children under the age of 5 at 53%, leaving 47% or almost half the population unregistered.

“Thereby rendering our children bare and helpless in the face of eminent multiple risks. The denial of the right to registration, as a basic right of all children in line with article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and guaranteed and enforceable in law under the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2012, amounts to gross irresponsibility, negligence and insensitivity to those of us who have duty to protect our children,” said the DPM.

The DPM regrettably shared that the most affected children are those who are orphaned and vulnerable, as a result they lose out on opportunities. He proceeded to positively share that all marginalized groups should be protected from the evil of ignorance and that Parliament is invited to expedite the enactment of the persons with Disability Bill and the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Bill.

UNICEF Country Representative Rachel Odede spoke strongly against the discrimination of children living with disabilities and reaffirmed UNICEF’s commitment to continue working with the Government and all stakeholders in ensuring that no child is left behind as we protect, empower and provide equal opportunities for all children.

“We must do more and ensure that we address all the barriers that restrict children living with disabilities from actively and fully participating in appropriate early childhood, primary, secondary and higher education,” she said.

The UNICEF Representative highlighted issues of violence, exploitation and abuse that children living with disabilities endure. She stated that there needs to be serious action that eliminates discrimination and ensures genuine inclusion, action that enables children living with disabilities to enjoy a life full of dignity. Such action will enable equal opportunities and access to basic services and lastly action that promotes respect and recognizes the contribution of children with disabilities to society.

Speaking on behalf of children at the commemoration of the Day of the African Child, partially blind Veli Vilakati, a form 2 pupil of Evelyn Baring High, confidently and commandingly shared the issues that include discrimination, stigma and violence on children especially those with disabilities.

He appealed to parents who have children with disabilities to refrain from carrying the shame of having them as they are also a gift from God. He also begged for the child living with albinism not to be killed. Veli also emphasized that as Swazi children they want to be totally safe in the hands of teachers, even when they fail in class they should not be insulted but rather empowered with life skills.

The child representative also spoke of the issue of birth registration and shared that it affects mostly children who are orphaned and vulnerable. Veli also added that visually impaired children do not have text books and struggle with getting brail materials. Many children living with disabilities also struggle with mobility especially when accessing public transport, shops and even church. Veli implored the public to be sensitive and helpful to all children living with disabilities rather than discriminating and laughing at them when they encounter difficulties in the streets.

 
UNCT_SZ_The MCs of the dayThe MCs of the day Amanda from MDS and Sihle from St Joseph's High School. UNICEF Swaziland ©2017

 

The DPM regrettably shared that the most affected children are those who are orphaned and vulnerable, as a result they lose out on opportunities. He proceeded to positively share that all marginalized groups should be protected from the evil of ignorance and that Parliament is invited to expedite the enactment of the persons with Disability Bill and the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Bill.

UNICEF Country Representative Rachel Odede spoke strongly against the discrimination of children living with disabilities and reaffirmed UNICEF’s commitment to continue working with the Government and all stakeholders in ensuring that no child is left behind as we protect, empower and provide equal opportunities for all children.

“We must do more and ensure that we address all the barriers that restrict children living with disabilities from actively and fully participating in appropriate early childhood, primary, secondary and higher education,” she said.

The UNICEF Representative highlighted issues of violence, exploitation and abuse that children living with disabilities endure. She stated that there needs to be serious action that eliminates discrimination and ensures genuine inclusion, action that enables children living with disabilities to enjoy a life full of dignity. Such action will enable equal opportunities and access to basic services and lastly action that promotes respect and recognizes the contribution of children with disabilities to society.

Speaking on behalf of children at the commemoration of the Day of the African Child, partially blind Veli Vilakati, a form 2 pupil of Evelyn Baring High, confidently and commandingly shared the issues that include discrimination, stigma and violence on children especially those with disabilities.

He appealed to parents who have children with disabilities to refrain from carrying the shame of having them as they are also a gift from God. He also begged for the child living with albinism not to be killed. Veli also emphasized that as Swazi children they want to be totally safe in the hands of teachers, even when they fail in class they should not be insulted but rather empowered with life skills.

The child representative also spoke of the issue of birth registration and shared that it affects mostly children who are orphaned and vulnerable. Veli also added that visually impaired children do not have text books and struggle with getting brail materials. Many children living with disabilities also struggle with mobility especially when accessing public transport, shops and even church. Veli implored the public to be sensitive and helpful to all children living with disabilities rather than discriminating and laughing at them when they encounter difficulties in the streets.