Campaign against child abductions coming

09 August 2019 | Crime

The recent brutal rape and kidnapping of a five-year-old girl from her pre-primary school in Khomasdal has spurred a non-profit organisation into action to create awareness at different schools about child abductions.

The MAD Charity (Make a Difference Namibia) says that the brutal kidnapping of the five-year-old girl, the tragic abduction and murder of Cheryl Uyaha Avihe in 2018, and the kidnapping of a nine-year-old in Swakopmund in 2011 are some of the many shocking and disturbing accounts of child abductions experienced in Namibia over the past decade. “Child abduction has also been catapulted to the fore of concerns for urban communities, childcare professionals and the media. To what extent is the fear of 'stranger danger' socially constructed?” asks the organisation.

According to the non-profit, every year about 50 children are abducted by a stranger.

“In some cases the child is sexually assaulted and, on rare occasions, murdered. Public attention will inevitably focus on these tragic cases. But the police record over 200 attempted abductions by a stranger each year. Even unsuccessful abductions are deeply disturbing to communities, parents and children alike.”

The organisation points out that Namibia's constitution states that every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.

“It is mandatory for all Namibians to play their role in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment for them. But recent statistics state that one in three children in the country fall victim to physical, sexual or emotional abuse before their 18th birthday.”

It is for this reason that the MAD Charity is taking the initiative to raise awareness of the rights of children, and to ensure the safety, well-being, care and protection of children, through the theme 'Tricky People, Safe Stranger prevention and awareness campaign'.

The campaign will kick off on 14 September with a parade through the city and during the week, awareness creating campaigns will be held at different schools in Windhoek.

The organisation is therefore inviting 14 primary schools, different government departments and local stakeholders, to participate and stand together against the abuse of children and come out in their numbers on 14 September.

The event will start with a colourful 5km parade around Windhoek, condemning the abuse and abduction of children. This will be followed by an event comprised of poetry and drama from students, portraying their fears, and calling on everybody to play their part to protect them. In conclusion stakeholders will take a pledge to protect children, by planting their handprints on a declaration cloth.

For more information, contact Cynthia Witbeen at 081 700 0117.



ELLANIE SMIT

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