Tuesday, 20 November 2012

International Day of the Child

Every single day is a struggle, nearly everywhere in the world for children world over.

On an annual basis, as many as ten million children are removed from school and forced into livelihoods they do not choose to be a part of. And these are young – nine, ten, eleven. Their childhoods are long dead, as these girls become mothers while they themselves desperately need theirs around to grow up. Girls across the world are subjected to genital mutilation and genital cutting. They cry out so loudly, that you only hear silence. Children are sexually and physically abused, over and over again, aging before their time without a choice at hand. Children are deprived of their rightful dues, because, oh well, they’re children after all. If this is so bad in peacetime, imagine on a warfront. Children are made soldiers, are brutally raped, suffering trauma and injury, psychological and physical - that scar them for life. Girls are used as sex slaves – even by the armies of their own country – who should be protecting them; even by the external peacekeepers – who should be protecting them. Irrespective of whether it is wartime or peacetime, girls are sacrificed to preserve “familial honour”. And amongst them all, are those girls who do not exist at all.

And yet, all that the world can do is designate one day. And on that one day, we will listen to mighty rhetoric. We will do this for the girl child. We will educate our children. We will make stronger policy for our children. Sure. Be my guest. But what happens when the day’s over, and the next day comes? This international “day” must not be in isolation – but rather, a flag-bearer for the days to come, to spark off stringent action.

Many generations’ worth of cultural ideals colour the mindset of oppressing masses that ill-treat their women. The International Day of the Child may spark off a celebration of the identity of a child in many developed countries and farsighted nations. But it will be a day like every other for children who grow up in societies that discriminate against them and harm them.

So let us rise to give our children the future they deserve. 

Stand by Deltawomen. One community at a time, as we fight for a school for the children of Okuijorogu!

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