The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) will join progressive children’s rights organisations globally in observing the Universal Children’s Day as proclaimed by the United Nations. The Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on the 20th November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.
As the countdown towards Monday 20th November 2017 begins, the Fund is taking this opportunity to reflect on the plight of children and commiserate with all victims of violence, discrimination, starvation and all manner of social ills.
The world continues to be a hostile environment for children, and we are challenged to strengthen our resolve to care, protect and create a happy environment for children. The Fund CEO Sibongile Mkhabela says the unprecedented assault on children calls for extreme vigilance and relentless efforts to change the way society treats its children and youth.
“We are devastated by the recent tragic events in which a security guard is alleged to have sexually assaulted at least 87 school girls at a Soweto primary school, and the undignified death of the young Michael Komape who fell in a pit toilet in Limpopo. This incidences are a microcosm of a bigger problem in our country and globally, hence our approach to involve multiple stakeholders in coming up with intervention programmes that will circumvent the many challenges that are faced by children, the most vulnerable and fragile members our society”; said Mkhabela.
According to the UN, Universal Children's Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children.
The Fund’s current strategic objectives compliment the UN’s declaration and convention on children’s rights and amplify the message of care, safety, love and peace. The UN’s Right to Life and Health is reflected in the Fund’s child survival and development programme that focuses on the first 1000 days of life (82% of children who die, have not lived for a year and the largest causes of natural deaths are respiratory and intestinal infections). The UN’s Right to be protected from violence is addressed through the Fund’s child Safety and protection programme that deals with safety in schools, with a particular focus on bullying, corporal punishment and sexual violence. The UN’s Right to family Life is encapsulated in the Fund’s approach to Strengthen Families through community self-help groups to create Sustainable Livelihoods; and finally the UN’s pledge to create friendly environment for children in the world through dialogue and actions is supported by the Fund’s commitment to give an African child a voice through various platforms like the Children’s Parliament, Girls Symposium and Community Dialogues.
Since 1990, Universal Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children's rights.
Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals as well as young people and children themselves can play an important part in making Universal Children's Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations.
Universal Children's Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children.
The fund will continue to honour the legacy of its Founder Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela; and as we edge closer to Madiba’s centenary year in 2018, the voice of an African Child must be heard and respected.