Reporting by Tenagne Mekonnen, Africa Regional Communications Manager
The Day of the African Child, marked each year on June 16, stems from the brutality and cruelty inflicted on children in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976 during apartheid.
Thousands of black schoolchildren went to the street to protest the inferior quality of their education and to demand their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young boys and girls were shot down, and in the two weeks of protest that followed, more than 100 were killed and more than 1,000 injured.
Each year, schoolchildren across Africa honor the memory of those killed and the courage of all who marched. This year, children in ChildFund’s Ethiopian programs share a song and their artwork to commemorate the day.
Song for the Day of the African Child
by Meseret, 13, and Jerusalem, 12
Listen now, listen now
We children we know
We deserve the love of mothers and fathers
We need to be free of child abusers
We know, we know
Child abuse is not right
We have education right
Parents and communities
We children have rights
We are tomorrow’s doctors and leaders
Be gender sensitive
Beating and insult is not good for us
Advise us and guide and grow us
To help us be good citizens
Art by Yabsra and Kuribachew
Yabsra, 14, Grade 8
On my art, I have tried to show a child who has opportunity to go to school and another street child who is crying there. At the same time, I tried to show the student who went to school greeted the [street child] and another child, being carried by his mom, waved his hand to this boy. There is also a teacher who is calling the street boy to join the school. The message I want to pass on is that everybody, regardless of age, should give love and respect to children and take care of them. I have tried to teach the community to support orphaned and street children as they are their own.
Kuribachew, 12, Grade 6
I have tried to express my feeling on my art. We need to take care of orphan children. I tried to show how children receive educational materials and uniforms for their school needs. This is to teach the community to continue their support.