Youth Month

Date: June 17, 2011
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The International Day of the African Child has been celebrated on 16 June every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organization of African Unity. It honours those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day in South Africa where thousands of black school children took to the streets in 1976, in a march more than half a mile long, to protest the inferior quality of their education and to demand their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young boys and girls were shot down; and in the two weeks of protest that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand were injured.

– The Day of the African Child is a day to fight for the cause of children in trouble: the AIDS orphans, child soldiers and impoverished youth who will inherit the continent.
– As many as 50,000 African children under the age of five will lose their lives as the result of preventable or curable diseases. And as many as 38 million children of primary school age in Africa still remain out of school.
– HIV and AIDS continues to ravage parts of the continent – with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 70% of all new infections in the world. More than 140 million children in sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme poverty.
– 200 000 child slaves are sold every year in Africa. There are an estimated 8000 girl-slaves in West Africa alone. (sources: BBC 5 October, 2001 & Anti-Slavery Society)
– About 120,000 African children are participating in armed conflicts. Some are as young as seven years old. (source: Africa Children’s Charter)
– Children account for half of all civilian casualties in wars in Africa. (source: Africa 2015)
– One in six African children dies before the age of five. Most of these deaths could be prevented. (source: Africa 2015)
– Nearly one third of children in sub-Saharan Africa are underweight. (source: UNICEF)
– In sub-Saharan Africa, measles takes the life of a child nearly every minute of every day. An effective measles vaccine costs as little as $1 per child. (source: UNICEF)
– Between 12 and 14 million African children have been orphaned by HIV and AIDS. (source: World Bank/UNICEF)
– Nearly 2 million children under 14 years old are HIV positive. (source: UNICEF)
– 43% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have safe, accessible drinking water. (source: UNICEF)
– 64% of children in sub-Saharan Africa do not have adequate sanitation. (source: UNICEF)
– Only 57% of African children are enrolled in primary education, and one in three of those do not complete school. (source: Africa 2015)
– For every 100 boys there are only 83 girls enrolled at primary school. (source: World Bank)

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