A CHILD'S PETITION

A PETITION DELIVERED AT THE ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF SINIENSI BY HOMELAND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION CHILD TO CHILD CLUB

Permit me to put before you a few concerns from the children in the Builsa North East district which needs your urgent attention.

Children are being maltreated by their parents and careers at what seems to be an alarming rate. Innocent young girls are turned in to brides overnight and I cannot go to bed without the fear of waking up the next day to be given to an older man in marriage. Many of the young girls are at risk of missing out on free Senior High School education and a brighter future because of early marriage and teenage pregnancy.

Many of us are hurting deeply from the neglect of our parents. Where is the parental love that we read about? Or are we of a different breed than the others who enjoy that?

Children can be found loitering the streets late at night whereas their parents are at home and sound asleep. Who is to blame? Is it that the parents simply do not care to live up to their responsibilities? Or the child cannot be controlled? I believe that no matter how stubborn we can be, an adults hand is strong enough to control and correct us.

The moral fiber of our society is completely torn and children are left at the mercy of the wider society. Women who ought to be consumed by love for their children willingly serve as pimps and perpetuate the evil of raising teenage prostitutes in some of our big towns. And who are their customers? Men who are old enough to be the fathers and grandfathers of these teenager girls. Do we not have any iota of truth and conscience in us anymore as people? At the end of the day, someone might be arrested and even go to jail, but that does not stop it from happening to another vulnerable child.

Child welfare officers and social workers are not enough! The systems needs to be changed. Bye-laws need to be reintroduced and new laws need to proposed so to provide immediate investigations and effective counselling when a compliant is made so that we as children will feel safe enough to speak to someone about such abuses of our rights. We need a body of trustworthy people to run to for protection from the wolves out there in our communities. We need a system in place that will educate our careers - time and time again - on how to safeguard our rights and interests.

I trust and believe that one day our smiles and laughter as children will fully be restored, and our voices heard but until then, there is much work to be done.

Delivered and Co-Written by Mercy (President of the Child to Child Club)