UWEZO Youth Empowerment talk Day of the African Child

To honour the run up to International Day of the African Child on Friday, we are treating our followers to a week of contributions, updates and blogs from our five partner organisations in Africa. The themes of this year’s Day of the African Child are protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for all children in Africa; things that AbleChildAfrica dedicate our work to, day in day out. 

Sankara, a mentor at our partner organisation UWEZO Youth Empowerment, kindly took the time to answer some questions in the run up to the 2017 International Day of the African Child. Continue reading for an insight into his involvement with UWEZO and to learn a bit more about why the day is important to him…

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your role and why did you become involved with UWEZO and the ‘Raising Aspirations’ project?

Sankara with his mentee in Rwanda

My name is Habimana, people call me Sankara. I’m 28 years old, the eldest in my family. I finished my secondary studies with a diploma in computer science, however I couldn’t go to university due to financial issues. I was involved in a car accident on 2nd July 2012 and had to  spend 14 months in hospital.

Today, I am the coordinator of all UWEZO Musanze mentors. I got involved with UWEZO because I was really interested in advocacy work, due to the fact I had recently become disabled. I started facing barriers in almost every aspect of my life and I began to understand what it must be like to be a disabled child [in Africa], struggling to go to school.



What is the Day of African Child and why is it so valuable?

The day helps parents, guardians and even governments to re-think on what has been done or what can be done to further the basic rights for children. This can span from education, to sports or medication, and it’s important for children to be raised by their family and not institutions.



What has been your biggest learning about child rights (especially for disabled children) so far?

I have learnt that, whilst all kinds of rights are vital for all children, emphasis should be put on education as a fundamental right so that in the future all children can be fully included in all aspects of their community.



The international theme for the Day of the African Child 2017 is “accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for children in Africa by 2030”. How do you think you are empowering and accelerating equal opportunities for disabled children in your role as a mentor?

I’m helping my mentee to love school. I want him to enjoy going to school, doing his homework. During the evenings, I coach him in different things. I hope that, slowly by slowly, he will grow to love attending school.



The national theme for the Day of African Child 2017 is “building our future, preserving progress on child protection”. Why is child protection important to you? How does it relate to your role as a mentor to a child with a disability?

Child protection is very important because, ultimately, it should end any violation of child rights.  When a child is protected, they are free to feel inspired and look towards a bright future.


If you’d like to support our life-changing work with organisations such as UWEZO, you can donate at this link. All donations are greatly appreciated and truly will further our life-changing work with some of the most vulnerable children in the world.

With thanks to Sankara from our partner UWEZO Youth Empowerment.

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