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Children raise their voices

By | October 23rd 2011


Children from all over Kenya will converge at Railways Club, Nairobi, next Saturday, to celebrate achievements by Kenyan children in the past ten years.

They will mark the day with pomp and colour in an event where invited guests include Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and other Government Ministers. The children will celebrate achievements in education, health, sports and other important areas of their lives.

The Children Voices Forum, started years ago, gives the youngsters a chance to meet Government Ministers, the media and air their views on different issues.

Over the last few years children have fought for their rights espeically for good education, ban on bad cultural practices such as FGM, early marriages, child labour among others.

Members of the children’s parliament say children want more time to read fun books. [PHOTOS: Jonah Onyango/Standard]

They went to the Police Commissioner, the Attorney General, business sector and newspaper and television companies and appealed for their voices to be heard. They also presented a draft of recommendations, which they wanted included in the New Constitution.

They fought hard, just like politicians do when they are campaigning for votes. The children have held street demonstrations and carried placards demanding for their right to a good life. One such participant in the past was 12-year-old Nelson Nzioka, a physically disabled child who has since died.

The children last week met members of the press and other organisations to finalise the plans for Saturday. The function, organised by the Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Children, was also attended by former Assistant Minister Betty Tett.

"We have been having meetings to plan how children are going to celebrate this day," said Monica Nakuno, of Mogra Star Academy, Nairobi.

Nakuno is the children president of Nairobi County government and is a leading voice in the children arena. "We have our own children governments in all the 47 counties, which also have representatives. I make sure things are running smoothly, just as our national president does," said Nakuno, who said her dream is to become Kenya’s president.

Purity Moraa, 12, is children parliament speaker in Nairobi. "The theme for Children Voices on Saturday will be "Reading for fun’’. We will use the event to tell government officials, parents and teachers that we want an opportunity to get more time to read books that are entertaining and educative," said Moraa, a pupil at Moi Airbase primary, Nairobi. "We also need that teachers and parents reduce our schoolwork and chores," said Moraa.

Brian Mwai from State House primary, Nairobi, is the chief whip whose job is to maintain discipline in the children’s parliament. "We are telling other children reading is better than watching television. We are also appealing to the government to protect us from bad radio and television stations programs. We also want them to ensure we don’t see advertisements on alcohol, cigarettes and other bad things," said Mwai.

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