By Yeukai Munetsi
Members of the Zimbabwe Junior Parliament commemorated the day of the African Child with song, dance and lively discussions on issues affecting youths, at an event held at the Civic centre in Gweru recently.
From left to right Lisa Manyawi, Deputy Minister of state, Tinotenda Chalema Child Vice President, Michael Gundu Senator and Asher Gondogwe Vice Minister of Tourism.
Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Gweru District officer, Abinel Mataga said the event was organised to empower the African child and youths to address challenges they are encountering in their lives.
“The African Union (AU) is now coming in solidarity to remember children’s rights each year and during discussions sanctions were mentioned as a major challenge affecting youths because of closure of companies which resulted in many parents being unemployed.
Sanctions are doing harm to our youths, poverty is affecting children, prostitution and labour triggered by unemployment. However to solve the challenges, youths are encouraged to “team up with the government”, said Mataga.
He called upon the youth to participate in the youth games set to be held in Gweru soon.
“We are inviting every youth to participate in these games which are starting on the 27th of July as well as business corporates to come and assist to make this day a success,” added Mataga.
Speaking at the same event Provincial Arts and Culture Officer, Mr Shockson Reward said the junior Parliament should be assisted with financial support to enable them to create programmes that will allow youths to interact with colleagues in remote areas.
He said future events should also be held in remote rural areas to enable disadvantaged youths an opportunity to participate in issues affecting them as well.
Child Vice President Tinotenda Chalema went on to hearten Youths from all spheres to report any forms of abuse.
“We don’t care where you are, if you need assistance feel free to contact our members of the junior parliament in your districts for help and we will be readily available to assist,” said Chalema.
This year’s theme is “Humanitarian Action: Children’s Rights”.
The Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976 marked the beginning of this day.
“The day of the African Child was first marked by the youths of Soweto after hundreds of them were gunned down by the apartheid military because they were deprived of their rights to use native languages,” continued Chalema.