16TH JUNE 2019-DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD PRESS STATEMENT
This years’ theme is Humanitarian Action in Africa- Children’s Rights First.
16 June is a remarkable day as we remember the Soweto uprising where black students took to the streets in protest against being taught in a language that was not theirs. BONELA has become the voice of many Batswana youth and children who have been oppressed in practising their Human Rights. On this day, we reflect on our efforts in continuing to make Children’s Rights a reality in Botswana.
Guided by the2009 Botswana Children’s Act, we acknowledge that a child is a person under the age of 18. As an organization we realise that this is an age group that is greatly affected and faces a challenge in enjoying their Rights. Some of the matters that are of high concern are the following:
- Neglect and Child-headed Families- The HIV pandemic has left many children as orphans putting responsibilities on the eldest child who takes the role of a parent and abandons their dreams. We have parents that have also left their children to work in the Urban Centres leaving their day to day responsibilities with children.
- Teenage Pregnancies- This has seen a lot of future leaders dropping out of school to take care of their children. While we all know that pregnancy is a result of unprotected sex, this also exposes most children to HIV and STIs and defilement.
- Human Trafficking- Children in Botswana are being abducted and used for sex and their organs for ritual ceremonies and beliefs. Social media is used to ensnare youth who are then taken to other cities and countries for prostitution.
- Sexual Abuse-As young as a day old, children are being molested and sexually. Some cases are family members abusing children and these children are being prevented from reporting so as not to tarnish their family name.
- Children born of Batswana fathers and non-citizen mothers –These children face challenges in accessing Identification cards which hinder them in accessing proper health services.
While this is a few of the many cases and situations happening in Botswana, we pride ourselves with standing for Children Rights in Botswana. We acknowledge every organization that is working to make Children’s rights a reality and we encourage each other to continue fighting until every child is free from abuse and can claim their rights.
This year BONELA calls on parents, guardian, teachers, civil and community leaders, traditional leaders, social workers and the community at large to live the principle of Botho in ensuring that every decision made is at the best interest of a child.
For more information; please contact BONELA at +267 393 2516 and like our Facebook Page BONELA or Cindy Kelemi on