I feel blessed to be part of an amazing generation of education youth advocates

Yoadan Shiferaw with A World at School’s Chernor Bah

The Day of the African Child on June at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a day I will cherish for the rest of my life.

It was the day I saw the glimpse of light and great hope for the future of the African continent and the world.

I got the invitation for the event through my status as one of the 500 Global Youth Ambassadors for A World at School. On the day of the event, I got to the African Union with an expectation that the grownups would be getting together and talking about the challenges the children of the continent are facing regarding education and envision ways forward.

What I actually witnessed was far from my expectation. There were children running around, mingling with one another and taking pictures dressed in the most beautiful variety of African clothes.

They came from all around the continent and some even from European countries in a spirit of support and love for fellow children. The number of adults was minimal.

The theme of the day was “A Child Friendly, Quality, Free & Compulsory Education for All Children”. The day started in an exciting and uplifting way, with children and the youth took the role of facilitating, leading and performing all the events. It was indeed a Day of the African Child with their outnumbering presence.

The programme started with children singing the anthem of the African Union and continued with poems, dramas, songs, traditional dances and speeches by inspiring children.

I was awed by the knowledge the children possessed about the problems our continent is facing. They raised issues like early child marriage, safe schools and access and quality education for every child. And they called for the government and partner organisations to start acting and investing on education immediately.

The children were raising these concerns out of personal experiences. They were telling stories of how their own friends were in school one day and out the other because the parents and guardians were unable to afford to send their children to school. The female students then at a young age will be married off and see their hopes and dreams squashed before them.

Throughout the session, we were kept entertained and informed about problems regarding education in the continent. A declaration was read out by the children in four languages (English, French, Arabic and Portuguese) and the African Union was asked to adopt and implement it. The programme ended with the same exciting and moving spirit with which it had started.

It was my first time participating on the Day of the African Child and I found it everything and more that I could wish and dream to see for a bright and promising future. 

I am still overwhelmed by the knowledge, confidence and performance of these children. For me, education is a way of life and means everything for the survival of human beings. It’s a means by which we break the cycle of poverty, marginalisation, violence and harmful traditions.

We dream of seeing youth empowerment and have an enlightened generation that thrives to make our continent a better and improved place.

I feel blessed to be part of this great generation! And I feel proud to be working with organisations like A World at School and Save the Children that are working for every child in the world to have the necessary education that is safe and of good quality.