By Njabulo Dlamini
This month was dedicated to promoting non-violence against children and saw a number of them writing messages through this newspaper where they expressed their feelings and wishes.
Nonhlanhla Hleta-Nkambule, UNICEF?s Information Officer, stated that their plea was for the continuation of such. ?For once, through The Swazi Observer, children?s voices were heard and they were able to speak out on issues affecting them. Our belief is that a platform of this nature is desired where they could voice out their feelings, be it once a week or twice. This motivates and encourages them to look forward to the next edition of the newspaper because they are aware a forum where their story is told exists. We appreciate very much the good work done by the newspaper,? Hleta-Nkambule stated. She said despite being children, they were able to communicate in an elaborate manner through powerful messages. ?It made them feel good as it was against the norm where issues they cannot relate to are published on a daily basis. Besides morality issues and the like, what message are we sending to our children through publishing certain photographs and stories? We appeal to the nation to take forward the issue of non-violence against children and not end it this month. We need to stand up and not only condemn but fight violence against children throughout the year because it is simply not on,? she added. Below are some of the messages;
She also called for targeting of other sectors by the media because non-violence had to be embraced by everyone and not a ?selected few? as it were. Again, the officer said the messages should be written by the children themselves and published as is, not typed in, such as a separate full page dedicated for them.
Some of the messages written by the children include: ?Please do not give me HIV?, ?Jesus loves children? , ?don?t rape me, raise me? and ?listen to us children?.
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