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Botswana Commemorates Day of the African Child

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Botswana Commemorates Day of the African Child

Gaborone, Botswana, 16 June 2012 –: Botswana joined the rest of the world in commemorating the Day of the African Child on June 16. The National commemoration was held at Tlokweng Junior Secondary School under the theme “The rights of children with disabilities: the duty to protect, respect, promote and fulfil”.  

Giving a keynote address the Assistant Minister of Local Government Honourable Botlogile Tshireletso explained that the theme was chosen by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.  She noted that the day called for all involved to reflect on their work and consolidate efforts in addressing obstacles to realising the rights of children. Although the Botswana government has set up immunization programmes for the prevention of disability in children, disabilities continue to occur as a result of preventable diseases such meningitis and measles.

UNICEF Representative Dr Doreen Mulenga covered global challenges that children with disabilities and their parents face in their daily lives. Such challenges include difficulty to access specialised services, medical treatments and equipment. In addition she stated that they have to make difficult decisions about educational choices especially if they live in the rural area where education services are more likely not to be inclusive.

It is estimated that between 5 and 10 per cent of all African children are disabled. Although some countries in Africa have introduced specific legislation, national policies or strategies to respond to the special needs of children with disabilities, they are still lagging behind in the implementation of inclusive programmes and allocation of adequate resources. Botswana was commended for having ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is a clear demonstration of their commitment to ensure “a Botswana where each child enjoys all rights irrespective of their gender, social status, ethnicity, religion or their disabilities”.

The children brought warmth to the cold day by the entertainment they provided. Various organisations such as UNCEF also set up stalls to share information about their work with the public.

 

 
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