News / Africa

On Day of African Child, South Sudan Children Ask for Peace

South Sudanese children march alongside a police band in Juba on Monday, June 16, 2014,  to mark the Day of the African Child.
South Sudanese children march alongside a police band in Juba on Monday, June 16, 2014, to mark the Day of the African Child.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
— Hundreds of South Sudanese children marched through the streets of Juba on Monday, carrying hand-painted posters and placards calling on grown-ups in the country to stop six months of fighting so that they can lead normal lives again.

The march was part of South Sudan's way of marking the Day of the African Child, an annual event that has been celebrated every June 16 since 1991, when it was first organized by the Organization of African Unity - now the African Union (AU).
 
After marching alongside a police band, the children took part in acting workshops and read poetry describing what they have suffered during South Sudan's conflict.
 
“Imagine. We were preparing for Christmas but received war.
We were expecting to celebrate Easter but our streets
Were filled with noises of battle and rumours of war.
Streams of children from other states filled Juba
With sad stories; with tears falling down.
The fear in their eyes could tell what they should not say
With their words. They saw killings and rape during the war.”

 
Children and the elderly were among the thousands killed in the fighting in South Sudan, some of them massacred in places of worship and hospitals.

Child rights activists say children in South Sudan have been severely traumatized by what they have witnessed during the fighting. The children at the event on Monday asked the adults present to treat every child as if they were their own.

“The blood of another child is like the blood of your own child," their poem said. "The body of another child is like the body of your own child."

Right to education


The theme of this year’s Day of the African Child was the right to education, which is guaranteed under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
A poster carried by South Sudanese children in Juba on Monday, June 16, 2014, the Day of the African Child, asks for the right to go to school.
A poster carried by South Sudanese children in Juba on Monday, June 16, 2014, the Day of the African Child, asks for the right to go to school.


Save the Children’s Caitlin Brady said at the gathering that over a quarter of South Sudan’s schools are closed because of ongoing fighting in parts of the country.
 
We, as children, we want to live in a peaceful South Sudan. We want to go to school. We will build South Sudan to a new nation...
Brady said 95 schools are currently occupied by people who have been displaced by the fighting, or by government and anti-government forces.
 
“It is a major concern because those schools are unable to teach and children are unable to go to school," she said.

Save the children has built more than 30 temporary schools to allow internally displaced children to study, but those dozens of schools are not enough, Brady said.

South Sudan Education Minister John Gai Yoah said the government is aware of the plight of South Sudan’s children and his ministry is working to ensure that all of the country's children are able to go to school.

“We feel that education as the main source of development is the key for doing some challenges that children are dealing with,” he said.
South Sudanese children carry a hand-painted poster calling for peace and unity during a march in Juba on Monday, June 16, 2014, to mark the Day of the African Child.
South Sudanese children carry a hand-painted poster calling for peace and unity during a march in Juba on Monday, June 16, 2014, to mark the Day of the African Child.
Gai said his ministry is working with the army and the opposition to ensure armed man vacate any schools they have occupied so that children can use them for their intended purpose -- studying.

The children, meanwhile, insisted that all they need is for peace to be restored in South Sudan. Then, they said in their poem, they will be able to go back to school and learn how to play their part in building a nation of peace and prosperity for all.

"We, as children, we want to live
In a peaceful South Sudan.
We want to go to school.
We will build South Sudan
To a new nation..."

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: gatwich from: juba
June 17, 2014 5:21 AM
what i know by my people in the new nation,peace shall never exists in south sudan if the current regime is not change.Because there are people in the regime. who does n't known that the government is for all south Sudanese .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid