LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE AFRICAN CHILD
There was a touching story based on a real life experience that got adapted into a movie that moved many viewers to tears.It deserved to be acclaimed for it touched on issues that a bigger percentage of African children can find themselves in if adults(their guardians/parents)feed their minds with paper chase and greed for riches. This applauded movie,”Dry” tells of the ordeal of a child who’s married off to a 60 year old man and whose mother got impregnated by her uncle when she was at 13 years of age but her aunt wouldn’t hear of it. She became judgmental of her and compared her to her mother who she claimed was loose. She thought and readily assumed her husband was a saint little did she know. Do you ever ask yourself if we weren’t too quick to render judgement on such a child, how more they’d open up and tell the truth? “Dry” being set in a rural Nigerian specifically Hausa ethnic group; child marriage is upheld. These children’s reproductive system isn’t fully developed and to make matters worse, they go through prolonged excruciating labor before they call a native doctor who has delivered many women in the village before. They end up suffering shame and pain of fistula as they are shunned by the society.
It’s not undisclosed that child marriages are rampant all over Africa but the fight against child marriages starts with me and you. Imagine an Africa where children are left to be children and their rights are respected and really protected. Imagine an Africa where children get full access to quality health even though their parents barely have anything to feed them with. Imagine an Africa where children get education regardless of the remotest place they live in. Imagine an Africa where children particularly the girl child are not sold away to a man old enough to be her grandfather’s age. Imagine an Africa where children get to fully enjoy their childhood without being made parents too soon…an Africa where children don’t get to give birth to children. Imagine an Africa where children are safe from sex predators who lure them or even force themselves in them and infect them with unfathomable infections and diseases. Imagine an Africa that has her eyes open and ready to leave behind atrocious cultural practices such as early marriages that yield lamentable occurrences like fistula.
Let’s make a little heaven for our children where they are safe and protected from the evils that lurks around. Let’s make Africa smile by making the children enjoy their childhood because after all, childhood doesn’t last forever. Let’s not rush them to be adults or force them into early marriages just to fatten our pockets and stomachs when they deserve much more than cultural practices. Let’s criticize the cultural practices and get to see which ones to keep and which ones to drop. As for leadership, again, it starts with you and me; not just politicians. Let’s ensure that children get access to education for that’s the most important and powerful tool we can empower them with. Donate a blackboard. Donate a book. Start a cheap library in your neighborhood. Donate a pen/pencil. Offer to share knowledge at a local school while you wait to join campus or get a job.Health is essential for without good health, no one can be productive.Advice and follow up with the guardians on issues of health issues. There are some health insurances like M-TIBA whereby they can put in as little as Ksh 20 every now and then. I dare you to be the voice of the children forced into early marriages. Fight for them for it is a battle worth your effort. Finally, as we commemorate Day of The African Child on 16th June, let’s always strive to put a smile on the African children’s faces by the little things we do for them that enhances their physical and mental health and education and diminishes heinous traditional practices.