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It is our duty as adults to look out for the best interests of our children, if not for the sake of the future of our nation, then as an act of compassion and care towards the most vulnerable in our society. Children’s minds are a beautiful blank canvas that can be painted in extensive variations.
On Monday 2nd October at 11 am at St. Peter Awich Kindingo ECD School, Nyalenda, Kisumu County, Kenya police trespassed and without remorse patrolled the school compound as the children were being taught in their classrooms. As if this distraction wasn’t enough to their ongoing education, the police went ahead and lobbed several tear gas canisters in the school compound. This left 23 children physically affected and 3 children hospitalized, not to mention the trauma experienced by the entire school population. What impression do you think this leaves on the mind of an innocent 6-year-old? That policemen are harmful? That school is not safe?
Article 53 (1) (d) of the Kenya constitution clearly stipulates that a child is to be protected from all forms of violence, inhumane treatment, and punishment. This makes the above actions not only distasteful but also criminal. Unfortunately, such degrading treatment of children in direct violation of their constitutional rights is not an isolated case in our country.
As the founder of Star Kids Initiative, which focuses on the mentorship of the underprivileged children with the purpose of nurturing upright citizens, this realization is heartbreaking. Countless times as we interact with the children, we aim to break the poverty mindset, a task that has proven quite challenging given how ingrained this mindset is and the fact that our time with the children is quite limited. The current school curriculum does not contain sufficient political education to impart objective reasoning to children on the current political goings-on. I have witnessed very young children, who, as victims of their nurture, passionately express their political inclinations and speak bitterly of others with contrary opinions.
As a progressive nation, we cannot afford to have the minds of our children so carelessly handled. We cannot afford to expose them to bile; we must impress upon them positive attributes if there is to be any hope of Kenya’s continued democracy.
— Esther Kamaara