Today is the International Day of the African child and for obvious reasons I cannot let it go by unmarked! Since its inception in 1991 by the Organisation of African unity it has aimed to increase awareness of the need for improvements in the education of black African children. It was launched to mark the anniversary of the march in Soweto in 1976 of over ten thousand black students protesting against their inferior education. They were met with guns and violence and 176 of them were killed.
This week as my children struggle with homework and moan about exams, as I complain about bits of the education they are receiving and as we all drag ourselves grumpily out of bed I am biting my tongue. I am reminding myself to be grateful and trying to persuade myself not to take these things for granted.
Lauria in April the 7th village in Mozambique had dreams and plans for her beautiful daughters but they all revolved around one thing…an education.
Many of the children in these isolated villages receive no education at all. Whole communities club together to send one bright child off to school and that child repays the village by returning with their expertise and knowledge or by sending money home. Education isn’t a given, it is fought for and highly valued.
Goal 2 is to ‘Achieve Universal Primary Education with Target 2.a. being to ‘ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling’.
It is up to us to hold our governments to account and support them as they strive to achieve these goals. Last week the voiceless shouted and were heard because of us, the little people, the people who care and it was an incredible thing to be part of.
Education is the key to so much, it opens so many doors, makes so many things possible. Reading the litereature, it seems unlikely that this goal will be achieved by 2015 but that doesn’t mean it should be abandoned, huge strides forward have been made. We have to keep making noise for Lauria and her children.
It is hard coming home. It’s hard to process everything I saw and heard. I have conversations running around in my head, faces behind my eyelids. I can see the bigger picture and it is huge.
with thanks to ayohcee whose tweet about the International Day of the African Child prompted this post.