About this Event
Educate a Child in Africa (ECA) partnered with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Fako, to commemorate the 24th edition of the Day of the African Child at the Limbe City Council Hall, on June 16th 2014. The event brought together children from orphanages, students from primary and secondary institutions in Limbe, Street Children, Parents and guardians, Women Associations, a host of dignitaries including the former World President of Junior Chamber International (JCI) and Executive Director of Go Ahead Africa, Mr Roland Kwemain, as guest of honor.
Background of the International Day of the African Child
In 1976 thousands of black school children took to the Streets of Soweto, South Africa. In a march more than half a mile long, they protested the inferior quality of their education and demanded their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young boys and girls were shot down by security forces. In the two weeks of protest that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand were injured.
To honor the memory of those killed and the courage of those who marched, the Day of the African Child has been celebrated on the 16th of June since 1991 when it was first initiated by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union).
How it Unfolded
The event began at exactly 10:30am prompt with the singing of the Cameroonian national anthem and a word of prayer from Lesline Ewimbong, a student of GHS Limbe. The host, Ifaana Kwalar, introduced the Mayor of the Limbe I Council who was represented by its Secretary General Mrs. Nche Ida Mambo. Mrs. Mambo began by welcoming the guests and the young people to the Limbe I municipality. She went further to present the situation of the African Child and the conditions of children in Limbe in particular, thanking the parents and guardians for their relentless efforts in making sure that their children are raised properly raised despite the difficult conditions. She ended her speech by emphasizing the support the Limbe council has been granting over the years to students of her municipality.
Zion Singers, students of Kofele Luma Secondary School, presented the theme song. The song brought out the different challenges children face in Cameroon, calling on the government and other stakeholders to secure the future of children. The song was composed by Mr. Sunday Ernest, the Vice Principal of Kofele Luma.
The 24th edition of the Day of the African Child commemoration in Limbe was marked by the presence of Mr. Roland Kwemain. His presence at the Limbe City Council Hall was a motivation to the young people, giving that most Cameroonians look up to him as their role model. Roland Kwemain presented the challenges he faced as a young man growing up in the South West Region of Cameroon and how he became the first black President of Junior Chamber International. He received rounds of applause as he revealed his story, an aspect of inspiration to the young people present at this year’s commemoration. The message behind Roland Kwemain’s story is obvious to every young person who gets to hear it; anybody can make it in life no matter the socio-cultural and economic barriers. He ended his presentation by presenting the “Four D’s of Success” whc are: Desire (as in passion), Decision, Discipline and Determination.
The Children of the Emmanuel Memorial Orphanage presented “Spelling Bee”, an aspect that replaced the traditional dance. This consisted of pronouncing words randomly for children to spell. After the spelling bee, students from the Journalism Club of GHS Limbe presented the News Flash. It was anchored by two students who presented the headlines. Two other students in the audience acted as reporters, and fleshed out the stories. Aspects such as the 24th edition of the Day of the African Child, the abduction of the school girls in Chibok, Northern Nigeria, were amongst other stories presented.
After the News Flash, the Chief of Social Center, Limbe, Mrs Efange Placide, representing the Delegate for Social Affairs, Fako, presented a word of satisfaction to all those who made the occasion possible. She thanked the parents and their children for turning out massively to participate and witness the different activities. After the brief intervention from the Chief of Social Center, the children from the Save the Children Alliance Orphanage animated the audience with a song titled the “Forgotten Heroes”.
The students of GHS Limbe acted a sketch titled the “Evolution of Education”. The sketch portrayed scenes on an educational system that is not child friendly. Other scenes depicted an educational system that had evolved to be child friendly and attracting so many people, even the old. The audience applauded and laughed as the students showcased their talents. After the sketch, the audience was thrilled by a debate titled “The Educational System of Cameroon is Child Friendly”. Two students argued “for” while two others argued “against” with coordination from a moderator. The debate was very interesting, especially considering the fact that some educational authorities were amongst the invited guests.
The audience was also entertained by live music from Princess ELN, a student and musician who sang for the Unity of African Children (“African Children Unite”). It was followed by a word of Advice from the Principal of GBHS Limbe, award of prizes, distribution of gifts and the recognition of ECA Heroes through the award of certificates. Gifts were given to all the children while prizes were given to some who excelled in the activities. The best all round girl pupil of five primary schools in Limbe was awarded a prize for excelling during the 2014 academic year.
The ceremony ended with a closing remark from the Divisional Officer of the Limbe, and light refreshments to all those who took part in the celebration.