By Hemed Juma

Day of the African Child 16/06/15

The Day of the African child is an event that has been celebrated annually on 16th June since 1991 to commemorate the 1976 massacres that happened in Soweto, South Africa when students demonstrated for the basic right to a decent education but were shot dead. This year’s celebration in Kilifi County was conducted at Dabaso primary school in Malindi. The theme for the day was, “accelerating our efforts to end child marriages in Africa”. Kilifi
County is among the counties which registered the highest number of cases of child marriage in Kenya and as a result many of our young girls leave school without completing their education to enter into an often abusive & polygamous marriage.

MR Tsuma (County children coordinator)

Twelve girls from our school got the golden opportunity to attend this important event under the company of Madam Pauline and Uncle Hemed. The guest of honor was the County co-ordinator of children services, Mr Tsuma who highlighted a number of issues influencing early marriages in Kilifi County and encouraged all stakeholders dealing with children matters to work jointly in defending and protecting the rights of our children. Also some ladies from Kilifi County holding important positions gave out their speeches and shared their past experiences of the hardships they underwent before reaching where they are today. Their major call was for the whole community to be responsible in protecting and defending the rights of the girl child.

People attending the celebrations

It was indeed a very unique exposure for our girls and they all commented about the ability and confidence shown by the MC of the ceremony, Charles Jeremiah who gave a good example to all the children. They learnt how the issue of early marriage is being perceived by different people as communicated in different plays and songs and how they can overcome this challenge and also help others who are under such threat. They were also empowered with a lot of information on how to: abstain from risky behaviors, report any suspected case of defilement and work hard to excel in education.

Ou group from SBM School along with Madam Pauline

In addition, they were able to hear about the challenges children face to acquire education such as lack of appropriate stationery, uniforms and sanitary towels; this made them realize how lucky they are schooling at SBM since they get all these resources for free. After the celebration, they took Lunch before starting their journey back home and thanked the SBM management for giving them this special opportunity promising to share the information they got with their fellow girls during guidance and counseling time.

Annie Njeri enjoign the day