International Day of the African Child

The Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organisation of African Unity (the forerunner of the African Union). It 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 provided to African children.

In Soweto, South Africa, on June 16, 1976, about ten thousand black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young students were shot, the most famous of which being Hector Peterson (see image). More than a hundred people were killed in the protests of the following two weeks, and more than a thousand were injured.

The day aims at raising awareness for the situation of children in African, and on the need for continuing improvement in education.
Childhood experiences are crucial to the adults we become. If we do not enhance the position of children in our society today in the areas of education, health, nutrition and child protection, we will not be able to develop our economies and our societies effectively.
Investing in children is not only the right thing to do for their survival and quality of life, it is also vital for creating and sustaining broad-based economic growth and the essential key to nation building.