The Day of the African Child, celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, commemorates the day in 1976 when thousands of school students in South Africa's Soweto suburb took to the streets to protest against segregation and demand rights to a decent education. They were met with fierce police brutality and sadly many children were killed in the uprising.
In marking the 40th anniversary of this tragic event, the Day of the African Child continues to raise awareness of the need for improvement of the quality of life provided to African children.
On his visit, Ambassador Schmidt obtained first hand impressions of the impact of EU support to help vulnerable children in eastern Uganda and made the case for increased vigilance against perpetrators of child abuse.
In 2014, the EU committed at least 2.3million Euros (more than Shs 9billion) to stop violence against children in a programme dubbed combating silent violence against younger children in post conflict areas, implemented by Plan Uganda, Action Aid Uganda and IDAY.
Amb. Schmidt visited various project beneficiaries, including children with disabilities and out of school children. He was delighted to join hundreds of young Ugandans for a commemorative walk in Kapchorwa town to the tunes of a brass band, officiated a children's netball and football competition between teams from Amudat and Bukwo districts, and presented trophies and awards to winning teams. He also launched a charter on promoting rights in schools, detailing 10 fundamental rights that schools must respect to empower children and their communities address harmful practices and violence against children.