"I am a child" - a poem by Cleric Tembwe

A powerful call for inclusion and consideration, as given at World Children's Day at Kazungula Bridge, 20 Nov 2021

Cleric Tembwe
Six children on a bridge at night smiling
UNICEF/Zambia/2021/Bhuiyan
03 December 2021

I am a child, I am a child, although my needs may be different from yours, it does not make me any different from you.

I am a child, I am a child, I may not walk or run fast like you, but I feel and hurt, just the same.

I may not be able to hug you easily, but I love and have emotional needs just like you. I may look a little different, but I can do, and achieve what you can.

We all know being a child has its ups and downs, but for children like me, these are twice as much. So many times, I am labelled helpless, wasting your time as I try to navigate my way, through the door or trying to explain my thoughts to you. Yet, all I need, is for you to be patient with me.

For a second, I want you to be me, It’s after school, like all other children. You are looking forward to going home, Outside, the rain is pouring, everybody is rushing not to get wet and so are you. As you are wheeling yourself, through the mud and puddles of water, your wheelchair gets stuck and you fall off your chair.

Struggling to get up. Tears start rolling down, there is no one to help, because everybody is rushing and running,

Imagine!

I am telling you this, not because I am looking for sympathy. I want to draw your attention, to the many challenges, that children like me still face.

If, and only if, you can make a world, where children like me can move with ease. A world, where children like me, are given a fair chance, to live to their full potential.

Then, only then, can we say there is hope For Every Child!

I Am A Child.

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A poem written and presented in front of the Heads of State of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe by Cleric Tembwe, a member of the Namibian Children’s Parliament, and one of child participants at the sub-regional World Children's Day event at Kazungula Bridge on 20 November 2021.

Used by permission. Copyright - Cleric Tembwe.