Have your say on Children’s Day

Universal Children’s Day is set aside by the United Nations to be observed as a day of worldwide activity devoted to promoting the interests and welfare of children across the globe.

Fortune Bizeki
Fortune Bizeki

To mark the commemoration of this special day, The Zimbabwean went onto the streets of various towns and rural settlements to find out what people think about it.

Fortune Bizeki (21), a school leaver from Bhora Village in Murewa, said she would commemorate the day by entertaining children at an orphanage through singing songs. She said she would also reflect on the crucial family bond between parents and children

Fortune’s parents left Zimbabwe for the UK in September 2002 in search of greener pastures and have never returned home to spend time with her, though they communicate with her an average of twice a week. They also send her money and gifts but she said that as a child, she missed parental care.

“Parents and governments should reflect on the importance of parental love to mark Universal Children’s Day. Parental care should be provided children as a basic right. Every child needs parental care, love and guidance for him to grow into a responsible and loving citizen.

“Parents should always be with their children to provide necessary protection. Material support cannot substitute love,” said Fortune, holding back tears.

Memory White (27), of Murewa Centre said: “Parents and governments should commemorate this day through doing something concrete to ensure children are accorded their rights. Education, shelter, good health, adequate social facilities and equal opportunities should be enshrined in the constitution as some of the basic rights for children.

“Governments should be obliged to provide job opportunities to school leavers and prioritise educational requirements for children.”

Silas Mwafa (42) of Rusike, Goromonzi said: “Children need proper parental care and guidance. No children should live on the street as a result of lack of shelter or food. Government social welfare services and donor community’s goodwill should benefit mainly underprivileged children.

“As a right, governments should put in place laws which protect children from child labour and fending for families at the expense of education.”

Musa Makweza of Avondale said the UN should closely monitor and bring to book governments and armed movements using children as child soldiers. “The UN should ensure no child is engaged as a soldier by any organisation, especially in Africa where the practice is prevalent. Children should be protected from politicians who intoxicate them with drugs before abusing them for selfish political gains.

“Children from marginalised families should be given access to the national cake through quality education and equal opportunities. Hunger and deprivation should be eradicated as they expose children to abuse by irresponsible adults. Children should also be assisted to exploit their talents through provision of sporting, recreation and other social facilities.”

Takayendesa Munaki (62) of village 13, Chief Svosve area, Marondera East Rural, said: “Children need parental care and love until they reach adulthood. Parents are obliged to provide care to every child, regardless of whether they are biologically attached or not.

“It is every adult or parent’s duty to provide and take care of child-headed families. Children should not be abused through irresponsible bashing for petty wrong doings.

“When in the wrong, children should be reprimanded in a cautious and fatherly manner to avoid children being scared of family institutions resulting in them opting for street life.”

Mavis Mazenge, councillor ward (24) Chitungwiza said: “To ensure UN Conventions on rights of children are observed, there must be a data base for all marginalised children. In the case of Zimbabwe, these children should be the major beneficiaries of government scholarships and other forms of assistance such as BEAM.

“To help mould children into responsible citizens, school leavers should have access to community-based income-generating projects such as carpentry, brick-moulding among other youth empowering schemes. Jobs opportunities should be provided as a right for school leavers.”

Richard Khosa (38) of Biriri village Chimanimani said: “Rural children are deprived of basic rights such as education, health and proper shelter. Prohibitive long distances to basic facilities deprive the rural child of his rights. In addition most rural children are breadwinners for their families and would do household chores at the expense of education. Governments should penalise adults who transfer heavy responsibilities onto shoulders of children. It is time Zimbabwe respects the extended family institutions and foster parentage.”

Chido Mangoma of St Marys, Chitungwiza, said government should empower ward councillors to provide for needy children from among communities. “Governments have an obligation to keep school leavers gainfully occupied to tame child delinquencies. Child career guidance and counselling should be an on-going process. Guaranteed opportunities are rights which help children remain focused.”

Fungai Chirwa of Southerton, Harare, said: “A government which fails to provide for its children and other citizens should be declared a failed state. Every child should enjoy full childhood and access to education, shelter, sport and recreation, food and health facilities among other rights. Laws against child trafficking should be tightened at international level.”

Tendai Saimon of Borrowdale said: “The international community should help children from different countries and continents to share and exchange cultures in order to bond future generations. Enmities and global wars were as a result of intolerance mainly caused by a divergence of beliefs, cultures, social perspectives and religions.”

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