Young boy at the Notre-Dame de la Divine Miséricorde orphanage, Republic of Congo © Besnard/Apprentis d'Auteuil

On 16 June, we celebrated the International Day of the African Child

This day is dedicated to the commemoration of the children of Soweto in South Africa, murdered by the Apartheid regime in 1976 as they demonstrated to defend their right to education. Today, this day is widely celebrated across the African continent to honour children's rights. 

More generally, many African countries celebrate the month of June as "Children's Month", and organise numerous celebrations. Every year, our local partners put on a variety of activities to make children and their rights visible and their voices heard. This is an opportunity to get young people involved and remind the authorities of their commitment to children. 

In Madagascar, our local partners in the Sandratra project, which supports street children, are working with Malagasy national radio, through the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and the Advancement of Women. Thanks to this collaboration, a special programme on the rights of the child, particularly children in street situations, has been produced. Created with young people supported by our partners, the programme is broadcast every Wednesday throughout June. In all, fifteen children will express their views on the radio through testimonials, songs, slams and other activities on the theme: How can we guarantee children a better future?

"For me, June is the month dedicated to children. It's also an opportunity to demand our rights as children. By taking part in the programme on Radio Nationale Malagasy RNM, I was able to represent all the children and I saw myself as their representative in order to promote our rights and to advocate on our behalf"
a 16-year-old boy

Many children are not aware of their rights, explains a young girl who took part in the programme, "The fact that we don't know our rights means that people will take advantage of us. But now we are aware and we can claim them". In the Republic of Congo, our partner REIPER also seized the opportunity to highlight children's rights! Two events were organised to raise awareness of children's rights in the town of Dolisie. A round table bringing together experts in the sector and high-ranking representatives of the public authorities was organised to further mobilise the authorities in the implementation of children's rights and to consolidate collaboration between local authorities and civil society. The round table was followed by a cultural performance by local children and artists on the theme of protection against all forms of violence and abuse.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, our partner ORPER organised an awareness-raising event on the rights of children in street situations, focusing on the following message: "Like all other children, they have rights that must be respected. They must be able to participate in building their own future". Another partner, the Communauté du Chemin Neuf (CCN), ran a campaign for children in its centres on how to report abuse, led by a police officer responsible for child protection.

In Cameroon, an open day at the Arts & Styles centre in Nyalla was organised to showcase the various objects made by the young girls who are trained by our partner, the Chaîne des foyers de St-Nicodème (CFSN). In addition, a graduation ceremony was organised for young minors supported by CFSN, at a prison in a disadvantaged district of Douala. New IT, secretarial and office automation graduates are now among the ranks of beneficiaries. In addition, 15 young people from the CFSN took part in a march organised by the department (Wouri).

These celebrations are a response to a major challenge: to raise awareness of children's rights in order to promote the participation of those who are primarily concerned in the promotion of their rights, the children themselves. We are committed to continuing to support them and listen to them in defence of their rights.

Children's rights are for all children, without exception!