FRANCISTOWN: A standard six Phatlhogo Primary School pupil, Chimbise Gabankitse appreciated government efforts to provide equal opportunities for its citizens.
He saluted the government at the recent June 16 commemorations, which were held at the old Francistown stadium.
The Day of the African Child was celebrated under the theme ‘Accelerating Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunities for Children in Africa by 2030’.
When officiating as the child guest speaker, Gabankitse said that the government treats all children in the country equally regardless of their status.
He said that children are given equal life opportunities. For example, learners with different learning disabilities are included in the education system of Botswana.
“I would like to thank the government for making its mandate of catering for people living with disabilities. I am a living example because right now I learn alongside my sighted classmates,” he said.
Gabankitse said that the theme for this year’s commemorations entails three elements, which are child protection, child empowerment and equal opportunities for children in Africa by 2030.
He indicated that it is high time that children are protected from cases involving abuse, discrimination, negligence and exploitation.
He described abuse of children as any form of sexual, emotional and physical abuse.
The visually-impaired student stated that if the girl-child becomes pregnant while in school or acquires a sexually transmitted disease such as HIV due to rape or defilement, it is a form of sexual
He added that in the modern days, they still have parents who use impolite words, which may hurt the feelings of a child and damage the way they morally act in society.
Gabankise said that some children are being discriminated against in the community on the basis of their colour, race, religion and social status - giving an example that most people do not tolerate the albinos.
He urged parents to give their children all the basic necessities of life all the time and they should avoid making them perform duties beyond their age.
He also said that children should be equipped with knowledge and interpersonal skills of how to relate well with others.
For her part the Francistown Mayor, Sylvia Muzila said that the rights of children start from the day they are conceived until they reach the age of maturity.
She said that as the theme suggests, children need protection from all forms of social ills perpetrated against them, which include negligence by parents, child labour and sexual abuse just to mention a few.
Muzila concluded that promoting empowerment and equal opportunities for all children is the right path to non-discrimination in Article 3 of the Children’s Charter and it is the core principle of all children’s rights.