Gottlieb Hamukoshi (18)
Windhoek-We are the future, and as time moves forward, the future becomes the present, and eventually the past. We cannot keep on waiting for unfulfilled promises to be realised. Therefore, we need to be included in decision-making and be ready to take over.
In 1989, the United Nations declared November 20 as World Children’s Day. It is a platform that children can use to express themselves on our significance for political, social and economic sustainability.
All around the world we have intelligent children of different cultures and religions who are innovative, assertive and focused. But many children’s rights are violated, and only a few are privileged. If all the children are given equal opportunities, I believe the present and the future will be prosperous. Our leaders have forgotten the importance of unity.
They have become rivals and forgot that they have a nation to lead. Just like genes, these clashes between leaders can be inherited by our generation. I, however, strongly believe that my generation is aware of the benefits of working together despite of our differences in religion, culture, class and sexual orientation. We are a generation that has learned from history, and we know the importance of valuing each other and what we have.
I was given the opportunity to work with my peers from different countries. I learned that children can accept each other in tremendous ways. We were able to settle and put our differences aside. Everyone was eager to know about the other’s culture; we were connected.
We may be children but we have leadership abilities. We lead at school, manage resources, and assist one another if someone does not understand a particular subject.
Children initiate projects that are in the best interest of the child and thus society, such as environmental health, debate and science clubs. They support their peers who struggle with low self-esteem, and are the voice of those who can’t speak for themselves.
Article 13 of the child-friendly UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states: “Children have the right to find out things and share whatever with others, by talking, drawing, writing or in any other way unless it harms others.”
On World Children Day we demand that children are given the opportunity to take part in discussions that are about us.
We say: Nothing about us, without us. No matter what our circumstances may be, we have the right to be. Those who can’t write should be taught how. Those who can’t read should learn how.
Those who love far from schools should be provided with transport and we need to build more schools. We want to be taught in our own languages too. We are loosing our culture and heritage because the focus is on learning about the west, and not how we can be best just as we are.
#KidsTakeOver is just the beginning of us children saying that we too have a voice; we too have intelligent minds; we too have the ability to decide for ourselves what is in our best interest.
I do understand that many adults will find it difficult to accept that, but we can and will prove you wrong. We are tired of being called “future leaders”. If we do not lead in the present, there will no future to lead.