Defending the Innocence of Childhood

Richie Parker’s story that I posted a little earlier is truly inspiring and the “everything’s gonna be alright” message is a nice feeling to have.

However, then you come across things like the video below which are much tougher to understand or deal with. As an educator, one can never feel comfortable whilst such inequality and callous treatment exists in the world.

In the twenty first Century the world’s governments have pledged that the right to a decent education and protection of the innocence of childhood is a fundamental human right. When we look at the way the future is shaping up, this isn’t just a humanitarian issue in terms of concern for the victims, but also we see that if girls are protected, allowed to grow up naturally and educated these things are in the best interests of society in every way. Those girls will make a worthwhile contribution to the world economically, will through their education be capable of better skills as mothers and protectors of their children and will play a more effective role in families and communities.

As with other repressive practices such as genital mutilation, we are long past the point where child marriage should be defended on the basis of culture or religion. There is progress worldwide on these things, thanks partially to continued effort and initiative from the United Nations and related bodies. However, none of us can rest easy until we have reached a far better position.

I’m not naive and well aware that this young girl, Nada might have been schooled and coached for this video to make a bigger impact. However, as it’s shared around the world we must hope that it has the desired effect. Her fears and hurt certainly appear real enough. I also hope that now she has dared to speak publicly she will be properly protected against any attempts at retribution. Like Malala Yousufzai in Pakistan who dared to stand up for the right of girls to go to school and get an education we must not see them as ‘someone’s daughter’, but as ‘Our Daughter’.

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