In 1996, Graca Machel, former president Nelson Mandela’s wife, released a report about children in armed conflict. It was the first one to open the world’s eyes to the atrocities of children living in war zones.
Machel continues her work in children’s rights. Recently, she noted that the government can have legislature to help protect children, but it is more important that children get that protection in their homes and communities.
South Africa’s Champion for Children Campaign was launched in December 2009 to protect children during the Fifa 2010 World Cup. Machel said the campaign was launched at a time when there were serious fears that the World Cup would put children more at risk of abuse and trafficking.
And she said the campaign was a success. “It touched rural areas, urban areas, schools and places that were usually high risk. The levels of abuse and especially trafficking dropped,” she added.
The campaign now needs to be broadened and made into a movement. Parents and families need to realize their children must be accounted for at every moment of the day’s 24 hours.