Day of the African Child 2018

Day of the African Child 2018

Five hundred children, from 15 schools in Leamington and Warwick, met for a day of celebration and learning, the “Day of the African Child” on 15th June. They gathered in a large marquee and listened to a poem “I am an African Child” and heard about the day in 1976 when school children were killed during protests in South Africa

Each of of the participating schools has a partner school in Bo (Sierra Leone) thourhg One World Link (OWL) which has been promoting friendship & mutual learning between Bo District and Warwick District for 37 years. The school links are maintained through activities such as annual teacher exchanges, children sharing work & projects, pen friendships, school clubs, teacher & children’s friendships & teacher training delivered in Sierra Leone.

The Day of the African Child celebration saw children enjoying a series of contrasting workshops. In two rooms there was quiet as they listened to West African stories told by Sierra Leonean guests. They made plenty of noise in the drumming workshops as they learnt to play rhythms on djembes.

In two other classrooms there was drama as they acted out a cliff-hanger story about a boy stuck in a tree surrounded by crocodiles, a snake and a lion; how could he escape? Nearby there was vigorous dancing and in a marquee there was equally enthusiastic singing. On the field children were enjoying football (the favourite sport in Sierra Leone) and an obstacle race.

There were formal proceedings too. Pupils from each school presented ‘Send My Friend’ children’s rights posters to our MP, Matt Western, calling for schools to be made safe havens for children all over the world. Finally all 500 children joined in the songs they had learnt earlier in the day – what a loud and happy sound to round off the day!

Liz Garrett (OWL Schools’ Co-ordinator) said, “It is unique & incredibly special to have so many Leamington & Warwick primary schools linked with schools in Sierra Leone. Strong bonds & friendships have grown between school communities & it is a joy to see children & teachers from the UK & Africa learn from each other & work together mutually.”

Matt Bown, Headteacher of the host school, St Pauls, commented: “St. Pauls children and staff had a very memorable day. It was a delight to invite so many children, staff and parents from local schools to join us in this celebration. We were blessed with lovely weather and lovely people, the perfect combination to focus our thoughts on the ‘Day of the African Child’ and what it really means.”

One World Link is very grateful for the support for this event received from Warwick District Council Arts Development Strategic Project funds.