Today we remember the African child. Africa is a continent of breathtaking beauty and life, something, sadly, only a few of its children will ever get to experience. Compassion exists to give African children the hope of a better future.
On 16 June, 1976, thousands of black students took to the streets of Soweto, South Africa, to protest the inferior quality of their education and asking to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of boys and girls were shot down by security forces, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 people and injuring more than a thousand.
In 1991, 16 June was officially named the Day of the African Child. The day was meant to commemorate the young people who lost their lives in Soweto in 1976 while also bringing attention to the situations and issues of children living in Africa today.
As Sidney Muisyo, Compassion’s Regional Vice President for Africa, says,
The Day of the African Child is more than just a memorial to the children of Soweto, South Africa, who at great sacrifice protested the inequalities in their society. Essentially, it is a powerful reminder that the African Child is for most part still in chains to poverty. It is a day to hear the voice of the child, if you will, still marching in the streets of today demanding to be heard, to be treated justly, to be given access to healthcare, to education, to be protected, to be given opportunity — to hope.
It is the prophetic responsibility of the Church to hear that cry. Compassion International in Africa acts as a catalyst to move the Church towards action on behalf of children, and by God’s grace, the Church is heeding that cry.