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CHILDHOOD THREAT IN AFRICA

A child strapped in his mothers back does not know how far the journey is as it is surrounded with love, care, protection and security.
However, poverty denies children their dignity,endangers their lives and limits their potential.
conflicts and violence robs them off a secure family life, betrays their trusts and hope. HIV/AIDS kills their parents, teachers, doctors and nurses and even the children themselves.
Millions of children are under threat in many African countries. Pictures of children, boys and girls scavenging for remains of food in the rubbish piles,coerced into carrying riffles in the jungles, forced into prostitution on the streets, orphaned by the killer disease AIDS are very common.
Pictures are replicated changing the image of children as they grow up in poverty, caught up in poverty, armed in conflict or made vulnerable by AIDS pandemic.
Child labor,exploitation and abuse face today's African child. According to to the convention of children, every child has a right to: non discrimination,identity, family relations and parental guidance, special care if disabled, education, benefit from social security,protection from abuse and neglect, protection from child labor, trafficking, sexual and drug abuse.
Children have been often considered the property of their parents. Any inherent value was thought to derive from their potential economic productivity thus making wrong forceful decisions for them.
I will end my piece of journal with words from former UN secretary, Koffi Annan that that only as we move closer to realizing the rights of all children, will countries move closer to their goals of development and peace.

Comments

Dave Alexander's picture

Wisely Seeing are You

Hello Faith,

I see the same reality for the vast majority of people on this planet, and it saddens me. I will be guided to my way to help, just as you will find yours. Your words about "inherent value" deriving from "economic productivity" are powerful and speak to your wisdom.

There is a saying in the USA that goes something like, "When I help the poor, you say thank you; when I ask why there are poor, you threaten me." This saying was, for me, always about economics and control. We can control our contribution, and therefore control our own economic and personal vulnerability, by helping those less fortunate than us. But when asked why there are those who are less fortunate, it threatens the existing socio/political structure and puts the power-brokers at jeopardy from a "poor" uprising. Historically, almost all significant change has been produced by the less fortunate, finally unable to endure any longer the oppression, uprising against the status quo.

What I hope we find is another way. I want to see an end to the cycle of oppression and revolution. I want to contribute to Graceful change. I believe it is possible. And I believe that it is seers like you, the young and wise, who will lead the way. Seize the moments to manifest your vision; they will come.

In Friendship, Dave...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

Faith Mutuma's picture

Hi Dave, Thanks a lot for

Hi Dave,

Thanks a lot for your strong sentiments on the plight of the African Child. I really didn't know it would touch a soul.You were the very first soul.
I believe it is time the youth stood up to help in the eradication of our our siblings whose life's are miserable.
But again, i feel our leaders are to blame. They live lavish life while majority of the less fortunate children are orphaned and scavenge for food in the dustbins, lack shelter, clothes,education and good health.
How i wish our leaders would come together to heal these children and make the world a better place for them. Yes it starts with you and me.

In Friendship, Faith...

Dave Alexander's picture

Next Actionable Step

Hello Faith,

I am certain that you have touched many souls, even if they did not, or could not, tell you so.

Many years ago, I realized that the challenges we face are overwhelming and growing ever more so. I have never experienced evil, but I have experienced ignorance, confusion, and fear so enormous that the behaviors are easily labeled as such. In this realization, I learned that if I take a "me versus them" mindset I will usually lose to the ones in power, to the leaders, because I am accepting "their game" at which they are already very good and winning. (You might want to see my journal entry on sharing folklore for some words from our Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) They are who they are. They have power for a variety of reasons. Yet, in some ways, they can be our teachers. For example, most are very good at focusing on what they want and have quite good success because of that focus.

Since this realization, I strive to focus my energy on what I can next do, that is consistent with my peaceful view, that has a high likelihood of success, and that moves us toward a peaceful world. Contributing to PulseWire is one of these things. I believe in the power of women to save our planet, and I know that I have something to offer. So I do.

So too, you have both a vision and a budding passion. It may be challenging to see how, right now, you are moving forward. But if you insist on forward movement toward your vision, if you are flexible with how the vision may unfold from your commitment, if you are patient and shining brightly, you will become your vision and it will become you. Jensine, the founder of WorldPulse and PulseWire has her vision, the fire in her belly, and an open heart. I have seen these in her, though I have only met her twice for less than a minute each. In some people it just shows itself to me.

I see it in your words and the photograph you chose to share with us. So I encourage you, albeit from great distance, to continue forward with ever increasing clarity, even when the going gets tough. I have found there are only two choices really offered us here, we either choose to get up and keep going forward, or we accept things the way they are. For myself I insist that I get up one more time than I am knocked down, shine one more time than I am dimmed, move forward one more time than I am forced back." Sometimes it takes a long time to recover from a setback, but I am still moving forward (even after 50 years). This you will do too, it is in your eyes and your words.

In Friendship, Dave...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

Wendy's picture

They Eye of the Problem

Faith and Dave,

You have both nailed the problem with grace and introspection. I can't wait to work with both of you in tackling the massive human rights abuses against Africa's beautiful children. It's overwhelming, but may be the most important work any of us ever do.

I've just started my thesis on "grassroots empowerment methods to promote peace-building with Africa's orphans." It's broad and a bit rough at the moment, but I am so pleased with my topic, because I can so easily see the work that needs to be done in this area.

Targeting other organizations that aim to do work in this area, and working with them, to create efficiency and support networks, might be a good start, but I'll admit, it's only a small start.

Please, let me know what you think! We can create change, even if it's just one small step at a time!

Wendy

Faith Mutuma's picture

Thanks a lot for your strong

Thanks a lot for your strong sentiments on the plight of the African Child. I really didn't know it would touch a soul.It touched you.
I believe it is time the youth stood up to help in the eradication of our siblings whose life's are miserable.
But again, i feel our leaders are to blame as they sit down and enjoy their lives lavishly while our children are dying miserably.Yes it starts with you and me in saving the plight of these children.Getting via such organizations here especially in my country is a puzzle as i have never understood the criteria they use to pick on people to work for them.My desire to work with such organizations for long has always been fruitless.But i believe it starts with you and me to work things out for our beautiful children.They are tomorrows leaders.

In Friendship, Faith...

Faith Mutuma's picture

CHILDHOOD THREAT IN AFRICA

Many are the cases reported of forced early childhood marriages for family benefit, arranged early marriages, drug trafficking, forced female genital mutilation and child labour where the children are forced to seek employment to make ends meet for their family.
This deprives the children the right to decent standards of living as well as freedom of conscience.Poverty wears a multitude of dimension threatening childhood aspects.
It widens social-economic and gender priorities on children. Poverty in children is cause of poverty in adulthood.In order to break the generation cycle, i think poverty eradication must begin with children as it improves the opportunities of the disadvantaged children to participate in the society giving them the right to special care.
HIV is also a grave threat to our children as it has led to rising child mortality rates, sharp reductions in life expectancy and millions of orphans.
I believe children do not need to have HIV to be devastated by it. Once it enters the household on one or both parents, the child's life falls apart.

Dave Alexander's picture

Supply, Demand, and Culture

Hello Faith,

I am hearing two parts to the challenge. The first is economics, like child labour. When there are many workers available, it can become like slavery working for only food and shelter. The most "fit" who will accept the least "pay" get the work. Fair value is often available, but not in sufficient amounts to meet the needs of the many. It is a very big challenge worldwide. It is unlikely that any one of us will find a solution to this one, but we can help many people. This I am sure you will find a way to do.

The other part is cultural, like genital mutilation. I do not know how these things become the norm, and it saddens me greatly that so many people are hurt by these antiquated traditions that are reluctant to yield to new ways. I believe that while well entrenched, these are the areas where we can make the most progress because it is not about money and power. We must keep pushing against the momentum of the past.

I appreciate and support your vision, thank you for sharing, Dave...

In Friendship, Dave...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

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