VERITAS, a policy information and advocacy organisation, is pushing for community leaders and institutions to ensure the next 25 years give the girl child better opportunities in life.
Is comes amid concerns over child labour and child marriages as the world commemorated the Day of the Girl Child this week.
Although girls have shown they are capable of excelling, the story of the girl child’s success remains blighted by child labour and child marriage practices caused by poverty and parents opting to educate boys over girls.
Zimbabwe is in fact going backwards when it comes to the enrolment of girls in school, according to The Borgen Project, a non-profit organisation whose focus is to bring political attention to extreme poverty in the world.
Furthermore, according to both Relief Web and ZimStat, 20% of the children in Harare are believed to be child labourers, a great number being taken into domestic work as child minders or housemaids.
Thirty-two percent of girls in Zimbabwe are married before the age of 18 while four percent are married before the age of 15, according to Unicef and Girls Not Brides.
“We therefore call on all players—from Churches to the Ministry of Youth to the Ministry of Health and Child Care—to make sure that the next 25 years for the girl child need to be better than the last 25,” Veritas said in a bulletin this week.
“Change in educating and uplifting the girl child needs not only to be on paper but must be backed by real and practical effort and results. As we commemorate this day and celebrate girl heroes, let us take time to remember the girls that are the uncelebrated and often unseen. Those that have forfeited education in order to support their families and young siblings and those that have been forced down a path with no future for them.
“May we all realise that it is our duty to keep the dream of the girl child alive and that by giving her a voice and an equal future we are enriching our nation for generations. May the efforts of the 30 000 Beijing Human Rights defenders never go to waste.”
Veritas also took the opportunity to recognise girl child heroes in Zimbabwe, including motocross champion Tanya Muzinda and child prodigy Taida Mupara, who is attending medical school at the tender age of 14.
“Girls are finding their voices which they have been denied for centuries. Girls are showing the world that once they are allowed to have a voice, they are can initiate change: change not only for the status of girls and women, but for benefit of the whole of humankind,” Veritas said.
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