Commemoration of the Day of the African Child on 16 June 2012
Under the theme: “The rights of children with disabilities: the duty to protect, respect, promotes and fulfill.”
Children of the World Foundation (COW Foundation) on Saturday June 16 joined the rest of the World in commemorating the Day of the African Child. It is an important event to honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day. It also raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education, health provided to African children.
This year’s theme is “The Rights of Children with Disabilities: the duty to protect, Respect, promotes and fulfill”. We have used this occasion through drama and testimonies to challenge the families, District Officials and community on the plights of disability children at Opete Primary School where the district main celebration took place-Kitgum District, northern Uganda.
“Child survival, protection, participation and development are not only universal aspirations enshrined in the MDGs; they are also human rights issues ratified in the International Convention on the Rights of Children and the African charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,” said the UN Millennium Campaign Communications Coordinator for Africa and Acting Deputy Director for Africa, Ms. Sylvia Mwichuli. “Investing in the health and education of African children and their mothers is a sound economic decision and one of the surest ways for a country to secure its future. Reducing child mortality and ensuring universal primary education requires strong political commitment.”
This year’s theme is based on the fact despite existence on many laws on disability or legislation in Uganda like the constitution of Uganda, PWDs Act 2006, NCD Act and the ratification of UN convention on the rights of PWDs (CRPD) by the government in 2008, Children with disability issues of concern like availability of sign language interpreter in service centre like Hospital, school courts among other have no budget or are not a priority. As a result children with disability continue to be sidelined from effective participation in society development, denied their rights to access services. Hence children with disabilities are more likely to be poor than their non-disabled counterparts; and people living in poverty are more likely to become disabled than those who are not living in poverty.
At COW Foundation we know that, the invisibility of disability children makes it one of the most difficult-to-understand types of disability and as result, children with disability are often placed at the bottom of any priority list. COW Foundation with its partners continues to see how best to plan and work with, Children with disabilities towards greater recognition and empowerment. Livelihood protect and adolescent Sexual reproductive Health rights Project, we plan with various stakeholders, to build the confidence of the adolescent and attain their fundamental right to the right information and skills to handle Reproductive Health (RH) issues and empower the family to be more productive.
We thank the teachers, staff who we have trained and are now effectively explaining RH issues to Children with disabilities through use of appropriate materials and activities to put messages across. Our thanks also go out to the communities who continue to offer support as we tackle adolescent reproductive health needs. We link Children with disabilities and adolescent with local health services which provide at least a child and adolescent friendly services.
Thanks to our partners who trained the community members, parents, local health service providers and ensure their access to RH materials. COW Foundation continues to highlight the RH needs of children with disabilities to relevant Government ministries to influence policy that includes and benefits children with disability. In ALL these efforts, we are greatly grateful to the management of AMREF Kitgum Field Office and Trust Fund through NUDIPU for supporting COW Foundation.