Meeting the demands of children today for the future

Policymakers are advised to factor in the enormous economic and human costs of the lifetime effects of violence against children in their budget allocations.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) is aware that violence against children is a global phenomenon that cuts across culture, class, education, income, and ethnicity.

The organisation hosted a National Children’s Day dialogue to help ignite collective action, spark significant conversations, and inspire innovative solutions, with many policymakers, civil society groups, corporations, communities, the media, and individuals joining the event.

Speaking on being the change we want to see, the African Union director of Women, Gender, and Youth, Prudence Ngwenya, said, “While childhood is changing, child rights are not changing. Our children are growing up in a changing Africa, and some forces are driving the change.”
She added between now and 2050, 1.6 billion children will be born in Africa, and ‘this was a reason for us to accelerate progress and not allow it to be business as usual’.

Hendrietta Ipeleng Bogopane-Zulu, the Deputy Minister of Social Development, emphasised the importance of recognising children with disabilities.
“We are all in agreement; children must be protected. It is difficult to say children must be protected when we do not see or hear them. You cannot protect children if they do not feel seen or heard. We must engage children in decisions that affect them and be mindful of the environments we are exposing them to.”
Bogopane-Zulu added we must talk about the importance of acknowledging children with disabilities.

“Let us remember that children are diverse and that we should acknowledge their special needs too.”

In exploring the importance of coming together and rallying behind children, the CEO of the NMCF, Dr Linda Ncube-Nkomo elaborated that we all must protect and care for the children in our society.

“Campaigns and events such as the Children’s Dialogue help us to have honest reflections on the challenges of violence against children and shine a spotlight on gains made by custodians of child rights and stakeholders across government and corporate entities.”

She highlighted that as they geared up for World Children’s Day and the release of the State of the South Africa Child’s Report on November 20, it served as a period to heighten awareness about the need for everyone in society to protect the lives and rights of children.

“We need to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. The country has a big challenge associated with violence against children. The economic cost of violence against children in the country is significant, confirming the need to recognise violence against children as a crucial socio-economic problem for the country’s future growth.”

Ncube-Nkomo concluded that they appealed to communities to continue to engage on the issues of child safety and protection and to become the custodians of children because the government alone could not eradicate the scourge of child abuse.

“Regrettably, violence against children often occurs in homes where children should feel safe, nurtured, and cared for. However, if we stand together to recognise and practise children’s rights, they will be well looked after to become the future they are destined for. The hashtag #StrongerTogether is not just for the Bokke – it represents what we can be if we all play a part in creating a South Africa that is safe for all our children.”

Platform: Sandton Chronicle