June 16th every year is celebrated as the Day of the African Child. The day is now used to take stock of the fate of the African Child and recommit Africans to making the continent a better place for its young people.
As the history of this day is linked to the fight for a quality and relevant education, the association has been made that it is only through a proper education that Africa can reclaim her true identity in the world.
The campaign has enabled many young African youths to attain quality education and commit themselves to improving their lives and those of their people back home in Africa. This has seen some improvement in the condition of the young people in Africa.
However, many years on, many African children still face tremendous challenges in trying to portray themselves as independent and advanced people.
Millions of children are still out of school and thousands die of malnutrition and diseases.
In the past few decades hundreds of thousands of young Africans have perished in the high seas trying to reach mainland Europe in search of greener pastures. This scourge is still going on as they see their lives in their countries as a constant struggle in which there cannot be any improvement.
Here in The Gambia, one of the biggest problems the children are facing is child labour and exploitation.
Even though the country has very good and progressive laws on the issue, child labour continues to be a huge challenge largely due to the abject poverty parents are faced with.
All in all therefore, this is a day to celebrate but also a day to reflect on the serious challenges facing the African child and find ways of ensuring that African children can make it in their homeland.