by Misha Apel
On June 16th, 2016 at Caritas, Kigali the student volunteers from the Centre had the pleasure of participating in “The Day of the African Child.” Hundreds of children gathered at the Centre and celebrated the rights of the child as well as the children’s talents. It was a truly wonderful event and the children were even treated to a Fanta of their choice, giving already happy and energetic children more sugar, but they enjoyed themselves and the extra energy!
This event has been celebrated every year since 1991 when first implemented by the Organisation of African Union (OAU) after the 1976 Soweto Uprising in South Africa. It honours that children everywhere, particularly in Africa, are entitled to a home, an education, and a happy life. The centres we work at here in Rwanda are all trying to do just that and promote healthy lifestyles for their children as they are all victims of violence too, and who deserve the same educational opportunities as every child in the world.
As a volunteer service learning participant I got to watch the children at my Centre in Nyamirambo prepare a play and a set of songs to perform at the event. The children were so excited to perform and sang the songs all week long whether in practice or during free time. There was also traditional dancing done by the older children and speeches done by the priest and various social workers. In these speeches the adults invited the children to share their stories as a street child and how they are overcoming the stereotype and trying to gain an education with the help of Caritas.
It is beautiful to watch children who have so little and deserve so much get a day to celebrate their uniqueness, value, and successes. I hope to continue to celebrate “The Day of the African Child” every June 16 from now until forever.
To learn more about the Africa-wide celebration view the link below: