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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid