Day of the African Child: Salesians committed to strengthening Safe Environment for all Children
As we celebrate the Day of the African Child, the Salesians of Don Bosco in the Africa of the Great Lakes Province (Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda) call on parents to join hands in caring for the welfare of the children from birth to adulthood because that is what will help them to become good and valuable citizens for the country of origin and the continent in general. Every year on June 16, the Day of the African Child is celebrated, with the theme of the year 2021 being “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”. This theme emphasizes everyone’s role in complying with the contents of the African Union’s 2040 Agenda, in particular where the call is to have an African Continent whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children. Despite COVID 19 pandemic not allowing us to celebrate the Day of the African Child as we used to in our respective centres, as Salesians of Don Bosco we believe that a child has the fundamental right to grow up safely, free from exploitation and abuse, and able to enjoy life and all the gifts of a compassionate God. In this Province of Africa of the Great Lakes, the Salesians are striving to take care of as many children as possible through education in Nursery Schools, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and a large number of young people who are enrolled in vocational and training schools in order to prepare for their future. Also various programs have been put in place to fight against any form of violence against a child or anything that can deprive him or her of certain rights. For example, it is common for children to be exploited or to live a miserable life due to family problems, including limited resources. Within Salesian centres, such children are given special attention, from physical to spiritual care as well as getting them back to school. All of these activities are achieved with the help of others including lay people, collaborators in our centres, donors, the church, the local government among others. The Salesians of Don Bosco acknowledge that children and young people have equal rights to protection regardless of their gender, race, religion, disability, social or cultural background, or any other distinguishing characteristics. The Constitutions of the Society of St Francis of Sales (Salesians) assert that the mission of the Salesians is to be in the Church “signs and bearers of the love of God for young people especially those who are poor,” (Constitutions #2).