Our Shujaa Children

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Thursday, 20 October 2016 728 Views 0 Comments
Our Shujaa Children

Kenyans commemorate the heroes of their country on Mashujaa day, every 20TH day of October. Before the promulgation of the 2010 constitution, Mashujaa day was previously known as Kenyatta day, named after the first President of the Country. The rationale for this or rather celebrating the holiday is to honor heroes of the country, especially the fallen soldiers who fought for the country’s independence during colonization by the British. Were it not for their sacrifice and dedication, arguably, Kenya would not be where it is now.

 

I cannot emphasize more on the importance of heroes in our lives and or children’s lives. We all have a purpose in life, a purpose as to why we are here on earth.  Heroes come in to show us that we should pursue our purpose, but the journey of pursuit will not be as easy. They teach us how to fight tirelessly for what we believe in or stand for. A wise man once said that you only live once, but if you live right, living once is enough.

It only follows then that we should try to influence our children through worthy heroes, based on their interests. It even becomes better when these heroes are their age mates so that they can feel they have something in common with the heroes.

 

Heroes are people leading an exceptional life for the greater good of others.Dictionary.com defines a hero as a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal. Heroes come in different sizes and ages. Some of these brave souls are the young boys and girls living among us, and with us. Some heroes are still alive and sacrificing and working for a worthy cause.

 

There are some vices which have found themselves in our country after colonization, and there are also new heroes coming up to fight these vices. Some of these heroes are our young children championing for positive chance in the society. These heroes, some as young as ten years, are zealously fighting to better our country. I believe it is high time we start recognizing the child heroes and possibly celebrate them during Mashujaa day.

 

The Heroes Act of 2014 recognizes “children heroes” and defines them as a hero below the age of eighteen years. The purpose of this Act, I came to understand, is to provide a legal framework for the recognition and honor of national heroes in Kenya. The heroes are identified and recommended by THE NATIONAL HEROES COUNCIL. But the Act provides that the Council should work with the public, during the process of nominating national heroes to the president. It provides that the council should conduct and facilitate civic education in order to stimulate public discussion and awareness on pertinent issues relating to National heroes.

 

The council should call for proposals for the nomination of suitable persons to be recommended and declared as heroes. After selection by the Council, the public is then consulted and allowed to raise any objections and representations, before the list is forwarded to the president.

Heroes are recognized in areas of environmental conservation, human rights, philanthropy, entrepreneurship and industry, peacemaking, scholarship, professionalism and research, sports, arts and cultural values and practices. The criteria the child will be assessed for includes patriotism, vision, integrity, commitment, creativity, talent, persistence, inspirational and optimism.

 

On an international level, Malala Yousafzai is one of the child heroes who quickly crossed my mind. A Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Malala almost lost her life to the deadly Taliban in Pakistan. She survived a gunshot to her head, for defying the Taliban, who banned girls from attending school. She was shot three times for attending school and speaking against the Taliban. She miraculously survived and now runs a Malala fund for girls’ education, among other things.

 

Bringing the issue closer to home, a 7-year old Ryan Mwenda is described in a biography website as the youngest influential public figure on Kenyan soil, whose personality is budding super-fast. He is best known when he left the crowd in awe during the Thanksgiving Day held in Afraha Stadium in Nakuru early this year. Oh yes, he has also appeared on Churchill show as a comedian and is also a governor of Arthi county in his school.

 

Another beautiful soul that stole our heart is Princess Rose Nasimiyu. The 14-year-old cancer survivor won the heart of many people by her spirit and hope, through her chemotherapy and attitude towards cancer, when she was only 9 years old. She was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of cancer that begins in the cells of immune system.  She won our hearts in 2012 when she was brave and hopeful through her cancer treatments until she was eventually declared cancer-free. She received treatment in the United Kingdom and is now back, seeking to reach out and help children.

 

So on this day, I humbly challenge you to promote the celebration of child heroes. We can start by celebrating our children at home for the milestones they pass through to realize their dreams in life. We can encourage them to better themselves by exposing them to opportunities and nurturing their talents. It can also be through participating in the nomination of child heroes for commemoration on Mashujaa day.

 

I have news for you, there is no superman, (It’s up to us) – Tom Mboya

 

Ochollah Judy

Kenya Judy is a Lawyer by profession passionate about protecting the rights of the child. She founded and runs an organisation called Sauti ya Mtoto which aims at creating a world in which children particularly, vulnerable children, can grown into adulthood and reach their maximum potential

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