Universal Children’s Day is a United Nations initiative promoting togetherness, awareness and improved welfare of children across the globe. The observance was established in 1954 and is celebrated on 20 November each year.
This day also marks the anniversary of the adoption of both the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
According to the UNICEF Generation 2.0 Report, close to 50% of Africa’s population are children under the age of 18; and by 2050, 40% of the world’s children under the age of 18 will live in Africa. These demographic trends indicate the urgency of child investment in Africa to ensure the creation of a youth dividend, instead of a youth burden. Youth@SAIIA has continuously worked to invest in, and empower young Africans through our various programmes and initiatives.
For 2017 Children’s Day, Youth@SAIIA has partnered with UNICEF South Africa for several #KidsTakeOver events. These are part of a global initiative to empower children to take over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment for the day to voice their support for millions of their peers who are unschooled, unprotected and uprooted.
Youth@SAIIA learners involved in the Johannesburg Model United Nations programme (SJMUN), the Environmental Sustainability Project and the recent OR Tambo Centenary Celebrations Children’s Negotiations, were invited to participate in the South African take-overs.
On Friday 17 November, Andiswa Khumalo and Bhekumuzi Tlakawelo, from Dalpark Primary, as well as Tyrese Ratty, from Willowmoore High School, ‘took over’ the SAfm studios in Johannesburg during an interview.
On Sunday 19 November, two young reporters, Nkanyiso Zulu, from Katlehong Technical School, and Banele Lethabo Famo, from Nageng Primary School, ‘took over’ The Star newspaper by writing their own article.
Today, five tech-savvy Youth@SAIIA learners will ‘take over’ the Google offices in Johannesburg to develop technology to help children. These learners are Kiara Morarjee, Keresha Muthial and Tasha Kabvundura from Wendywood High School, who recently won the Best Delegation Award at the 2017 SJMUN for the cyber security session, as well as Bhekumuzi Tlakawelo and Nkanyiso Zulu, who participated in the OR Tambo Negotiations and were awarded Most Worldy Delegate and the OR Tambo Future Diplomat Award, respectively.
Youth@SAIIA has also been instrumental in the selection of South Africa’s Kids Council Ambassador, Lathitha Beyile, who is currently in New York and will address the UN General Assembly for Universal Children’s Day. Beyile is from The Oprah Winfrey Academy for Girls.
We’re so proud of all these phenomenal young leaders!