11 YEARS OLD ANDREW SHAKES AFRICA IN PRETORIA ON UN CHILDREN’S DAY
“CELEBRATING UNIVERSAL CHILDREN'S DAY: 2011-2011”
- EXPOSING THE HIDDEN FACE OF WAR: THE GIRL-CHILD SOLDIER -
SPEECH DELIVERED BY YOUNG AMBASSADOR ANDREW ADANSI BONNAH
INITIATOR - SAVE SOMALI CHILDREN FROM HUNGER PROJECT
Your Excellencies present; The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD; Staff of ACCORD; Colleague Child - Ambassadors present, My Team from Ghana; the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen
Greetings from the children and people of Ghana on this august occasion. Today, Africa marks another very historic moment in the UN Universal Children's Day Celebrations. I am proud I am here in Pretoria to be a part. For me it is historic because of the day, the month, the year, and even the age of the individual young ambassadors representing various African countries to mark this day.
The date 2011, 2011 is significant, remarkable, coincidental, and will always be remembered in history. Again, another very important aspect of this celebration is the representation of countries that have emerged out of conflict, or are still in conflict and whose reps are 11 years old and are seated here today to make history. It will no longer be our fathers who will be the history makers but now it is we the children, who are the hope of Africa and the leaders of tomorrow who will make the history.
Your Excellencies, as we mark this day, the theme for the celebration, “Exposing the face of war: the girl-child soldier” is well thought of, relevant and timely since children and most particularly the girl-child soldiers remain victims of wars. This impedes their growth and development as enshrined in the UN Convention of the Rights of Children.
I am happy that this day has been set aside since 1954 to address these issues that confront child victims. Lack of free basic education; lack of accessibility to quality health care; inadequate food security; inadequate shelter; and improper parental care are the challenges these victims face.
Indeed, this is the importance of this occasion and the purpose of making all actors and factors responsible for - (1) creating these problems put a stop to it, and (2) to ensure that these problems are resolved and don't resurrect again.
As I travel round the continent I see that many children in Africa have suffered a lot the outcome of wars, corruption, selfish leadership, hence the theme for the occasion, exposing the hidden face of war, the girl child soldier.
Your Excellencies, girls and to a larger extent women, are the foundation of every society and when they are used as slaves, child labor, become victims of rape and maimed, eventually early death, while others undergo a perpetual psychological trauma. All these, touch my heart and prompted me to come out with an initiative to promote Africa's restoration forum - a platform for me to address children's right to food, education, health, shelter, and proper parental care. Hence, the Somali famine and war crises propelled me to embark on the “Save Somali children from hunger project which has become the first phase of my Africa Restoration Initiative.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my project is doing very well at all levels. People, companies and organization are donating and very soon a New Year package will reach the hungry children of Somalia. Today, I am in South Africa to address the plight of the girl-child soldier. As I speak, my team and I, are expected in the Salt lake City of Utah (USA) at the invitation of Kidnected World (an NGO) to have a national fundraising campaign for the hungry children of Somalia.
Ladies and gentlemen, we children need healthy life to achieve our goals, therefore the need to ensure that children led a regenerative health lifestyle in other to promote a healthy and sickness-free society for their proper upbringing. It has been tried and tested in Dimona, Israel. Why can't we do it as Africans? Let us not forget that of 80% diseases and sicknesses that kill African children and adults are preventable. Every country must now have a health paradigm shift to promote regenerative health as an alternative to health care delivery and to develop quality hope for children since there will be less expenditure on curative medicine and can be used to support child development.
We have people like former President Nelson Mandela, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Mr. Kofi Annan among others who have worked; even Mr. Vasu Gounden of ACCORD who has worked so well in last 19 years in promoting peace in Africa's development. Who will be the next rising star? Me, my fellow children seated here or the girl child victims of War. Africa must unite now. We must build institutions now. African Union should be strong and decisively and precisely. Africa is not incapable. Africa has the resources, the expertise and the instincts to develop Africa now without any condition.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me thank ACCORD for inviting me and my team; and for funding our trip to witness this historic moment. We are grateful. Also I have the joy in me to step foot on the land of the most celebrated Former President Mandela's country. His legacy leaves on. I also thank the Norwegian Embassy for supporting this event. My final gratitude goes to the United Nations for giving hope to children of the world. Truly children are the light of the world.