In the year 1954, The United Nations’ (UN) Universal Children’s Day was established. With an annual celebration on November the 20th, the goal is to promote awareness and togetherness towards the plight of children in the world. All over the globe, countries come together to honor children with an aim to protect them from labor abuse and allow them access to quality education.
As, we celebrate this day in Kenya, it is important that we reflect on what we wish to achieve. The date offers each and every one of us an entry point through which we can continue to advocate and promote children’s rights. As an organization that targets the youths between the ages of 15- 25, we particularly celebrate our teens who are still children according to Article 260 of the Kenyan Constitution that provides that a “child” means an individual who has not attained the age of eighteen years.
In marking this day, we engage in the national dialogue on how to implement actions that will build a better society for our children. We actively participate in the conversation that seeks to address the rise in the number of teenage pregnancies as witnessed during the just concluded KCPE examinations. In acknowledgement of the rights of the child especially the right to free and compulsory basic education and protection from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, we aim to empower the Kenyan child to understand themselves.
In our approach as an organization we seek to encourage agency. Our interaction with the children is defined. With an approach of where there is smoke, a fire will emerge. We aim to scatter the ashes before it is too late. Our interaction seeks to ensure that after the students have gone through our leadership development programme, they are able to be equipped with decision making abilities, communication skills and emotional intelligence. The child, regardless of gender is able to act independently and to make their own free choices regardless of those factors of influence in their environment.
Therefore, even as we celebrate the child today, I welcome all stakeholders from the parents, teachers, churches, government, civil society activists, corporate sector and the youth in our communities, let us continue to consolidate our efforts towards making a better society for our children.