United Nations decreed, since 1991, June 16th "Day of the African child ".
As we all know it, this date commemorates the sad anniversary of the massacres of the children of Soweto in 1976.
Even if henceforth it has a wider vocation, it is compulsory to note down how far this day has this year, a particular meaning in our country.
Indeed, we are getting out of a hard time to go towards a big hope.
The first victims of the wars are always the children when they undergo the violence of the adults, when they can’t go to the school, and when they are deprived of any affection.
We who are, with some others, on the ground of the concrete actions since two decades, know that an anxious and weakened child can be later a tormented and hostile adult.
It is to ward off such a fate that we have created the Foundation Children of Africa which undertook numerous initiatives in favor of the children on the continent.
The World Day of the Child is an additional opportunity so that the child is at the center of all our actions.
Millions of children live in distress. The statistics do not point enough to their suffering.
All the African countries in diverse degrees are confronted with multiple problems related to childhood.
Here, they are children given up to themselves and to the dangers of the street, there some are enslaved and skivvy in a shameful way.
The theme of this Day of the African Child: "All Together for Urgent Actions In Favor Of the Children of the Street" seems, to me, mattering in many respects.
Indeed, big is my pain to notice that the number of the children living for the greater part in our cities, of no fixed abode, or who live in the street, has increased considerably these last years.
These children are in desperate straits and only ask for a stretched out hand to extract them from this abyss which sucks them up inexorably. Their place has to be on the benches of school and not in the street, to acquire the knowledge and come true in society.
As for me, my determination to help the children of the street will be in the straight line of my previous actions in favor of the welfare of children.
I would like, by this appeal, to mobilize all necessary human and material energies so that, together, we can build a better Future for these children.
As far as I am concerned, the serious problem of child labor on plantations, although efforts have been made in our country, we are still faced with this tragedy linked to agricultural economy.
Indeed, it is necessary to act upstream on the traffic bringing children in the plantations of coffee and cocoa. Such an action involves regional cooperation that we must support with all our strength.
In addition, specific actions will have to be taken at the national level by raising awareness and by enforcing law in Côte d`Ivoire.
I call to everyone`s commitment, to solidarity and to the sense of long tradition of hospitality of every Ivorian for distressed children to be welcomed into the families and entrusted with love.
On this day of the African Child, I have a special thought for all child victims of humanitarian crisis: displaced children, children without access to basic social services, children unprotected, children witnesses or victims of violence.
Our children are our Future; let’s protect them today against any form of exploitation, let’s give them the means to build tomorrow a strong Nation. Their health, training and their education will be the token of the worldwide influence of our beloved country.
First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire
CEO of Children of Africa Foundation
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