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

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    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 .

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora