Children’s rights and prosperities are in dilemma in Tanzania
By Deus, manager Back Home House
The Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1959 are clear about the rights of children: “Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community”.
But according to the writer children rights in Tanzania do not have too much meaning. This statement is based on the experiences in schools, family life, social services and in the streets of our big cities.
In most of the Tanzanian families, children are usually regarded as last group in almost all social activities. Children always get serviced food when the adults have eaten. Children are victim of family problems, in case of divorce, unemployment, drugs and alcohol problems. That’s why some of them try to escape the misery and start living on the streets of big towns, like Mwanza. But troubles do then start really, with no food and no protection even not from the police.
It is strange that public schools’ environment especially primary schools many times do not have fences, water service, electricity, sports equipments, gardens, books as well as enough class rooms. Also some of the schools are located in the sound places and some of them have turned to be centers for the thugs ‘meeting points’ during the afternoon and evening hours.
The same can be seen in public buses where children are not allowed to sit on the passengers’ seat, they can only sit on proper seats when the bus is empty or if the child is able to pay double fare. But still, if an adult comes in the bus, the kid gives the seat to that traditionally important person.
Also the new public toilets in the streets are not built for children. Here everybody is required to pay when you use the public toilets. But the councilors could not think about children’s situations, taken into account that children do not earn any income as well as Tanzania is amongst of the poorest countries in the world where majority of the citizens are very poor and unable to give some coins to their children for public toilets.
Also in the media, like television and radio, programs are not taking into account children’s situation. It’s not possible to see any sign which gives a limit on accessing the information based on age. This happens most of the time during television news hours and movies as well as commercial advertisement from televisions.
In any nation, the survival of a nation is depending on the youth. Children will be the governmental leaders, mother and father of tomorrow as well as grandma and grandpa of the future. Mostly, their strength to overcome social problems as well as their attitude and personality is cultivated when they are young. The environment in which they grow up now, is not a good base for their future positions in society. So, the writer would like to remind the people who got power and authority in the country to think about the future of these children. A child is an asset intended for the nation’s future and prosperity, therefore, it should be handled very carefully with great security in order not to be destroyed or stolen! Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance.