Celebrate Children’s Day on Saturday

2016-11-02 06:01
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NATIONAL Children’s Day is celebrated annually on the first Saturday in November and on Saturday 5 November, children organisations across the country will be celebrating not only children, but also highlighting the progress being made towards the realisation and promotion of the rights of children in South Africa.

Maritzburg Fever spoke to local children’s organisations about the importance of the day.

“As a country we have become desensitised to the abuse against children. If adults in society are failing to care and protect our children, then these rights serve to guide society back to what is right and just.

“We have the policies [for children’s rights], but for now a lot of them are words on paper rather than action at grass-roots level,” said Rekha Nathoo, director of the Cindi Network.

The largest and oldest child protection organisation, Child Welfare South African (CWSA), said that more needs to be done to assist government departments that work to protect the children in order to help them fight abuse and violence against children.

“Despite all the excellent work being done by many in South Africa to protect children, the impact is not as effective as it should be as we continue to work in silos. The time is now to join hands as a South African coalition for children’s rights so that all across the spectrum of media, government, academia, business, civil society, NGO’s and others can make a difference in the lives of our children,” said PJ Cloete, Child Welfare SA national executive director.

The Msunduzi Innovation and Development Institute (Midi) is very involved in the rights of the child and promoting a safer city for them to live in.

Four years ago Midi implemented its Child Friendly City programme, aimed at giving a voice to children and youth in Msunduzi Municipality.

“We work in about 80 schools running leadership and participation activities, encouraging children and youth to engage with, and challenge community and school structures.

“From these activities we have a group of 20 pupils, called Midi Change Ambassadors, who are trained in leadership and who represent the children of Msunduzi.

“The ambassadors meet regularly to address issues they face in their communities and schools. Some of the issues addressed include pupil transport, mobile clinics, recycling, adult literacy and drug awareness,” said Samantha Govender, Midi research co-ordinator.

Govender added that National Children’s Day is an important day on the South African calendar as it brings into focus children’s rights as well as commemorates the work done by relevant stakeholders towards the fulfilment and promotion of these rights.

“Basic human rights is fundamental to various age groups, including children.

“However, children face exclusion and discrimination from access to their rights because of the fact they are children, not adults, and therefore have a low social status in the community and at home.

“For this reason children become more vulnerable to all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation. Children’s rights need to be prioritised to help protect our children from increasing harm.

“Prioritisation means more availability and access to funds to assist in the realisation and implementation of children’s rights,” said Govender.

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